Hudson Regional Hospital reports ‘positive patient progress’

Despite climbing death toll, many COVID-19 patients are recovering

Hospital staff celebrate the discharge of COVID-19 patients.
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Hospital staff celebrate the discharge of COVID-19 patients.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the nation, New Jersey remains a virus hotspot. In Hudson County alone, more than 10,486 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 452 have died as of April 20.

The good news? In Secaucus, Hudson Regional Hospital reported on April 17 it has discharged 90 COVID-19 patients since March 30.

A number of patients have also shown major progress in their recovery, according to President and CEO of Hudson Regional Hospital Dr. Nizar Kifaieh.

“We were able to take seven patients off ventilators this week with two going home, which is very rewarding and uplifting to me and our entire staff,” Kifaieh said. “We have a multi-disciplinary team working together to treat patients and get a better understanding of the disease and how to treat it at different stages.”

Hospital officials cited worldwide healthcare communication about best practices, and practitioners recognizing how to treat the disease earlier in its progression for the institution’s ability to better respond to the pandemic.

“By intervening at earlier stages of the progression, we have been able to decrease the number of patients who require intubation by 50 percent,” Kifaieh said.

The number of deaths has decreased significantly from 10 per week to only one this week, with a total of 65 at the hospital. The number of patients admitted remains consistent with previous weeks.

Staff ready for surge in cases

According to Kifaieh, the hospital is fully staffed for the current number of patients being treated, and there is adequate equipment to treat patients and personal protection euipment for staff.

The hospital issued a plea for volunteers because its staff was stretched to the limit. Thanks to an outpouring of support, the staff is solid again.

“We’re very happy to see our patients getting better. It’s an indication that soon the community can focus on getting back to normal, and the healthcare industry can shift focus to preventative measures,” Kifaieh said. “We are very grateful for our partners Hudson County and Secaucus, and humbled that our smaller, young hospital is at the cutting edge of helping patients in this crisis.”

But it’s not over yet. While some patients recover, the percentage of positive tests remains consistent at 57 percent, according to Kifaieh.

The hospital’s drive-thru testing site conducted more than 1,200 last week alone, even with the center closed on Monday, April 13 due to inclement weather. In total, 3,500 tests have been conducted through the drive-thru facility.

The hospital said that the call center volume remains steady at an estimated 20 calls per second.

Hudson County residents experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must call 201-388-1097 or 646-862-1161 for a pre-screening to get tested. The drive-thru site operates Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only.

The hospital still needs additional help. Volunteers with nursing backgrounds should call (201) 392-3100.

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.