By JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
The confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in Montclair has reached 79, with 13 residents not surviving the illness, the township Health Department reported today, March 30.
State officials reported today 3,347 new cases of COVID-19 throughout New Jersey, the largest single-day increase to date, and that 37 more people had died. To date, New Jersey has 16,636 positives, 25,224 negatives and 198 deaths.
Today, Essex County had the largest number of new cases in the state at 280, surpassing Bergen County (249) for the first time.
According to data released from the county Monday morning, 36 people have died in Essex County, with Montclair having the most at 10, and Newark at second with eight. The numbers differ from the state and the township’s updated numbers, which were released later in the day. Nine of the 10 Montclairites who had died as of this morning lived in long-term care facilities.
State officials used two projections based on current cases in New Jersey – one without using social distancing measures, the other with 31 percent of New Jerseyans complying with social distancing measures the governor put into place on March 21. Without social distancing and with infection rate doubling every six days, a hospitalization rate of 5 percent with an average stay of seven days, 2 percent of cases requiring ICU with an average stay of nine days, and 1 percent needing ventilators for nine days, officials said all 20,000 beds in the state would be filled by April 9, and a peak of 80,000 cases would be reached sometime in early May.
Projections based on New Jerseyans complying with social distancing – even at a 31 percent rate – show that bed capacity would be reached around May 8 with a peak of about 35,000 cases in early June.
With the latter scenario, the curve would flatten and the state would have more time to prepare for a surge in patients needing hospitalization.
The modeling was created using CHIME, or COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics, which computes the theoretical number of people infected with a contagious illness in a closed population over time to predict outcomes.
The 31 percent compliance rate was generated from compliance reached during previous pandemics, said State Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.
But officials were optimistic that New Jerseyans could reach a 40 to 45 percent compliance rate with the stay-at-home and six-feet distancing orders, which they said is only the measure to “flatten the curve” and also gives them time to increase beds, equipment and medical personnel.
READYING THE HOSPITALS
If a surge in COVID-19 patients needing hospitalization hits around April 11, Persichilli said the state will have enough beds and ventilators, but admitted she was concerned with impact on the medical workforce and did not think the state would have enough personal protection equipment such as masks and gloves for nurses and doctors.
As of today, 3,611 retired or out-of-work medical professionals have answered the governor’s call to duty, said Murphy.
The state has 2,000 ventilators, and received an additional 300 today from the federal government. Officials say that 2,000 more are still needed. In addition to New Jersey purchasing more ventilators, FEMA will be training doctors to co-ventilate patients — putting two people on one ventilator — and will also be looking into retrofitting unused anesthesiology machines to be used as ventilators.
The state is adding more beds to the state’s current 20,000 by requiring every hospital to double the number of ICU beds, erecting three field hospitals, and reopening closed hospitals and hospital wings. The use of dorms and hotels to house general patients is being explored.
The state also announced new closures and openings for certain businesses. While golf courses are now closes, real estate agents can show homes on a one-on-one basis, auto dealers can sell cars online, local breweries can start delivering and gun stores will reopen tomorrow.
Thirty-four people have been issued violations for failing to comply with social distancing orders. Yesterday, police responded to and issued summons in Harrington Park, in Bergen County, where a man pulled over for DUI coughed on an officer contending he was COVID-19 positive, Lakewood police broke up a bar mitzvah attended by about 40 people, and they closed down a gym that was holding an herbal presentation, and a barber shop in Wood-Ridge.
The state’s police force is also feeling strained: 288 officers have tested positive, 427 are under quarantine and 608 are out sick or injured.
The following is a graph provided by the county with breakdowns by town. It reflects numbers at 9 a.m. on March 30 and may not include the numbers released by the state and Montclair later in the day.
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