By JOHN T. WARD
The current resurgence in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New Jersey is not having an adverse impact on the hospital network that includes Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center, the organization said in a statement Thursday.
From left, patient hospitalizations as well as the need for intensive care and ventilators have been climbing throughout New Jersey. (New Jersey Health Department graphics as of December 2. Click to enlarge.)
In response to redbankgreen inquiries, Hackensack Meridian Health said it “is seeing a higher number of patients hospitalized throughout the network.” The increase is “consistent with the community spread of the virus statewide,” the statement said, without detail.
But the increase “has not impacted patient care,” the statement said. “We continue to have adequate staffing.”
Less than 1.5 percent of the 14-hospital network’s clinical staff is currently “out of work,” which is defined as either COVID-19 positive or with symptoms while being tested, the statement said.
“This is a decrease from just a couple of days ago as we see more team members returning to work,” the statement said. “We continue to have adequate staffing and follow all rigorous safety protocols established by the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health. This includes increased daily COVID-19 testing of team members in any of our units with a greater probability or incidence of confirmed cases.”
In addition to measures adopted early in the pandemic to protect staff and patients, such as suspending most visits and comprehensive screening of all staff members, the network has “begun serial testing any patients that stay for more than two days,” the statement said.
“This is because patients may initially test negative upon entering the hospital but convert to positive over the next few days from illness acquired in the community.”
Statewide, hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been rising rapidly since early October, according to New Jersey Health Department data.
As of Wednesday, the state’s 71 hospitals were treating 3,292 COVID-19 patients, with 610 in intensive care and 366 on ventilators, the agency’s website reported. All three measures have risen to levels last seen in May.
The state reported 397 discharges Wednesday, excluding deaths, up 30 from Tuesday.
In the central part of the state, which includes Monmouth County, 994 patients were hospitalized as of Wednesday, down 25 from Tuesday, the state reported.
As of Thursday, the state health department reported 820 Monmouth County resident deaths attributed to COVID-19, up 2 from Wednesday. The number of county deaths considered “probable” results of the virus remained at 92, according to the agency’s pandemic dashboard.
Statewide, 64 deaths were added to the pandemic toll, for a total 15,373, with another 1,836 classified as “probable.” Thursday saw the addition of 4,913 positive tests, for a cumulative total of 350,999, the state reported.
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