Home Sections Health Field hospital for non-COVID-19 patients opens at Secaucus Meadowlands

Field hospital for non-COVID-19 patients opens at Secaucus Meadowlands

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Nurses train before the "soft opening" of the field hospital at the Secaucus Meadowlands.
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Gov. Murphy toured the field hospital on April 2.
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A field hospital has been constructed for non-COVID-19 patients at the Secaucus Meadowlands.
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Nurses train before the "soft opening" of the field hospital at the Secaucus Meadowlands.
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Gov. Murphy toured the field hospital on April 2.
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A field hospital has been constructed for non-COVID-19 patients at the Secaucus Meadowlands.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital beds across Hudson County have become scarce as more residents have contracted the virus. This shortage means that hospital beds for non – COVID-19 patients have become in increasingly high demand.

To cope with the projected shortage in hospital beds in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has announced the construction of three temporary field hospitals in each region of the state.

A field hospital will be set up to serve each part of the state: North, Central and South. To serve North Jersey residents, a field hospital was constructed at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus.

On Thursday, April 2, Gov. Murphy toured the completed field hospital alongside U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez. According to NJ Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, the field hospital was slated for a “soft opening” and was to begin taking patients on Monday, April 6.

The hospital will add 250 extra hospital beds specifically for non COVID-19 patients. The other two field hospitals were constructed at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, for central Jersey patients, and the Atlantic City Convention Center, for south Jersey cases.

According to Gov. Murphy, New Jersey currently has 18,433 acute care beds, including 2,000 beds for those requiring critical care.

The goal is to increase that capacity by 2,360. In constructing the field hospitals, the state estimates an additional 1,000 beds have been made available.

In addition to constructing the field hospitals, Gov. Murphy also said the NJ Department of Health is working on bringing closed hospitals back into service.

“With these steps, we can bring 1,360 new beds online,” Murphy stated.

Gov. Murphy toured the field hospital on April 2.

These steps will allow the state to expand hospital capacity rapidly in the short term, he said, and ensure the continuity of care for residents who need it and greater flexibility for the healthcare system to respond to this emergency.

And the timing is critical. Secaucus is seeing an uptick in the number of residents who have tested positive for the virus. Mayor Michael Gonnellii said the town’s COVID-19 testing system is now in place and getting more efficient and available.

“As more people get tested, we will see an increase in confirmed cases,” Mayor Gonnelli said. “Our area hospitals may likely be filled with COVID-19 patients and we will need more medical space to treat other patients.”

Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus is currently dealing with an overflow in COVID-19 patients to the point that the hospital had to convert areas of its facility into a second Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Room.

The state worked with the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA to open the first field hospital at the Meadowlands. According to Mayor Gonnelli, there should be little impact on businesses, buildings or streets in the area.

A field hospital has been constructed for non-COVID-19 patients at the Secaucus Meadowlands.

As of April 7, there were 171 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Secaucus. Two residents have died as a result of the virus.

Secaucus residents are advised to check the town website at www.secaucusnj.gov/virus for official updates on COVID-19 in town.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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