PARAMUS, N.J. — A veterans home in Paramus has reported 34 deaths since March, and state officials can confirm at least 10 of them are directly related to COVID-19.
The National Guard has sent in 40 combat medics to assist with resident care, as sick or quarantined staffing levels have also become a problem.
The Paramus facility continues to battle the virus as 40 residents are currently infected and five are hospitalized.
The National Guard has also sent 35 medics into assist in a veterans nursing home in Menlo Park.
Statewide, about 70% of all long-term care facilities have now been infected.
The department of health is working on a statewide plan to help nursing homes, including moving sick residents out.
“We’re looking at this regionally and I’ve been in contact with several facilities who are preparing to accept COVID-19 patients only, in north, central and southern regions,” said Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.
Among the general population, New Jersey coronavirus cases have now reached 51,027 and there have been 1,700 deaths.
“The peak could occur in 2-3 days,” said Persichilli.
The health commissioner said hospitals could see their patient population double, while at the same time, the governor stated the rate of new infections is slowing.
“Our social distancing is beginning to show effect here,” he said, pointing to a heat map where the deeper-colored counties are seeing faster rates of infection.
To force the virus to plateau and fall, the governor said keeping distance during the holidays — Passover, Easter and Ramadan — could be crucial.
For inspiration, Murphy showed a photo of Dr. Jim Pruden, head of the emergency department at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson. He was hospitalized with COVID-19 in March.
“Yesterday Dr. Pruden was released from the hospital,” said Murphy. “His strength and his perseverance in the face of everything should be all we need to find our inner strength to power through this emergency.”
Murphy announced a new executive order today: a 60-day grace period for health and dental insurance premium payments and a 90-day grace period for auto, renters, life and other insurance payments. He said this will keep people covered even if they cant afford to pay right now.