NJ hospitals face staff shortage as hospitalizations climb with ‘tsunami’ of COVID cases

New Jersey

(Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey hospitals and long-term care facilities are facing staff shortages amid a “tsunami” of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Phil Murphy and health officials said Monday during a remote news conference on the pandemic.

Hospitalizations have climbed by nearly 60% since the end of last month, they said. They climbed from nearly 3,000 on Dec. 27 to over 4,700 on Sunday.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says hospitals and nursing homes also face staffing shortages. She suggested the shortage is due to staff being out sick and added that hospitals and nursing homes are planning for the loss of 30% of their staff at minimum.

The Department of Health is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to establish strike teams to send to overwhelmed hospitals. The DOH is also working with the National Guard to establish strike teams to send to long-term care facilities.

Murphy urged residents to take omicron seriously.

“The case numbers we’re seeing today blow anything we have seen since the start of the pandemic out of the water,” Murphy said. “Wear your mask. Get your booster.”

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