As COVID-cases increase, hospital capacity concerns rise in NJ

For the second straight day, the state of New Jersey set a record high for COVID-19 cases, with 5,673 people testing positive in a single day in addition to 48 more residents being killed by the virus.

At a briefing on Friday, Governor Phil Murphy pointed out that the actual numbers are likely even higher.

State officials are closely watching the count at hospitals where over 3,300 patients are being treated, the highest in six months. A number of hospitals outside of northern New Jersey have begun diverting patients.

"The problem with that is if multiple hospitals in the same community go onto divert, then where do those patients go? Patients have to go somewhere if there's an emergency," said Dr. Adam Jarrett from the Holy Name Medical Center, which currently has 60 patients being treated for the virus, 9 of whom are on ventilators.

Dr. Jarrett says he believes outpatient spread is more prevalent now than it was in the first wave. State tracking models estimate NJ hospitals could be saddled with 5,000 patients by New Year's Day.

"We lost over 250 people to COVID-19, we have 9 on ventilators right now, people need to take this seriously," said Dr. Jarrett.

The experts say to take it seriously, you only need to do three things: Wear a mask, socially distance, and take the vaccine when it becomes available.

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