New Jersey reinstates public health emergency as omicron surge overwhelms hospitals

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  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy re-declared a public health emergency on Tuesday amid a surge in COVID-19 cases due to Omicron.
  • Murphy said the state is reporting about 35,000 new cases a day, and in the past two weeks, more than 10,000 residents have needed to be hospitalized because of Covid.
  • Murphy’s new announcement allowed him to hang on to some emergency powers, including a mask mandatory in schools, while the earlier one was about to expire.

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reinstated a public health emergency Hospitals are struggling to keep up with the influx of patients on Tuesday as Covid cases rise amid a shortage of health care workers.

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The latest surge has been driven by the rise of the fast-spreading Omicron variant, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says accounts for about 95% of Covid-19 cases in the US, although vaccines, and booster doses in particular, appear to be To prevent serious illness and death, experts say the sheer number of cases is taking a toll on hospitals.

Murphy said the state has been reporting about 35,000 new cases a day over the past two weeks, with more than 10,000 residents needing hospitalization due to Covid. Murphy’s new announcement allows him to restore some emergency powers, including a mask mandatory in schools, while an earlier period was due to expire earlier this month.

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Murphy said the renewed emergency declaration would “make no new impact at all” on the day-to-day lives of local residents.

“That’s not what it’s meant to be,” he said. “It doesn’t mean a new universal mandate or passport. It doesn’t mean a lockdown. It doesn’t mean any commercial restrictions or gathering limits.”

Half of the hospital beds at Newark University Hospital are filled with patients diagnosed with Covid-19, some of whom were admitted for something else but later tested positive, Dr. Sheriff Elnahl said Wednesday in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” But this is not his biggest concern.

“I’m actually more concerned about a health care problem rather than a COVID-19 problem,” Elnahl told CNBC’s Becky Quick. “Right now, we’re seeing the morale of our workforce drop. There’s not a single light at the end of the tunnel that I can paint now as I did in the spring of 2020.”

He said the industry is losing talented physicians between the ages of 45 and 60, “often the most energetic and knowledgeable people in the hospital.” It’s a problem they say may actually be greater than Omicron, “seems to have already plateaued in cases, at least in the New York metro area.”

Elnahal said about 10% of his hospital’s staff are out with Covid, taking the hospital closer to a crisis staffing scenario with an “uncomfortable” ratio of staff.

Elnahal said he would like the government to see a “clear definition” of the endgame when it comes to Covid-19.

“What level of matter will define spatial matter?” They said. “What does this mean for regulations on the health system and what can we do, what should we avoid? How much capacity should we build? What is the guidance for health institutions that are going to deal with this pandemic, but even after it? “

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WATCH: University Hospital CEO on COVID staffing crisis: Our workforce is demoralized


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