New Jersey’s Surging Virus Numbers Echo New York’s: Health Chief

New Jersey is on track for the kind of viral surge New York is experiencing, the state’s health commissioner said on Wednesday.

“Our trends are tracking our neighbors’,” Judy Persichilli said of New York’s coronavirus infection rate. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo projected a peak in 14 to 21 days. Persichilli said she expected a similar growth rate in northern New Jersey.

“When we see this peak in New York, I think we can expect Bergen, Essex and Hudson counties will follow the trends,” she said at a news conference in Trenton on New Jersey’s response to the pandemic.

The main object of the nationwide effort at social distancing is to keep the infection rate down so hospitals aren’t overwhelmed. New Jersey is asking the federal government for 400 ventilators, Persichilli said.

“Critical care right now is pretty stressed,” she said.

New Jersey has 4,402 infections, up from 3,675 reported on Tuesday, Governor Phil Murphy said at the conference. Deaths climbed to 62, he said. That’s up from 44, according to data posted on the state website.

Murphy said the state’s day care centers would close for most families, remaining open only for the children of essential workers like health care personnel and first responders.

“We are taking this step for a simple reason: We need all our front-line workers on the job,” he said. “A lack of child care cannot be a barrier for them.”

Persichilli said health officials have asked the northern counties’ care providers to be aware of New York’s 14- to 21-day peak estimate.

“There’s a good chance they’ll see a peak after that,” she said, perhaps in 21 to 60 days.

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