Menendez Leads NJ Delegation in Urging Trump to Approve State Request for Military, Army Corps Assistance to Help Meet Health Care Needs during COVID-19 Outbreak

Menendez Leads NJ Delegation in Urging Trump to Approve State Request for Military, Army Corps Assistance to Help Meet Health Care Needs during COVID-19 Outbreak

   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today led the entire New Jersey congressional delegation in urging President Trump to support Governor Phil Murphy’s request for assistance from the United States military and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to aid the state’s ongoing effort to increase hospital beds and intensive care unit capacity. New Jersey has reported over 400 positive cases of COVID-19 and five deaths. Support from the military and USACE will help alleviate pressure on New Jersey’s hospitals from the anticipated rise in cases over the coming weeks.

The letter was signed by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.-02), Andy Kim (N.J.-03), Chris Smith (N.J.-04), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.-05), Frank Pallone, Jr. (N.J.-06), Tom Malinowski (N.J.-07), Albio Sires (N.J.-08), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09), Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.11-) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.-12).

“The State of New Jersey is already working around the clock to revitalize and expand hospital infrastructure, but it will need support from the federal government to be sufficiently prepared for the anticipated influx of severe COVID-19 cases,” New Jersey’s congressional delegation wrote in a letter to President Trump. “New Jersey has already mobilized its national guard to investigate how to increase hospital infrastructure. Furthermore, our state’s Health Commissioner has been working with hospitals in reopening closed hospital wings, and is reviewing if it is possible to restore a closed hospital. Support at the federal level will help our state to meet its needs and allow those who contract the coronavirus to receive lifesaving healthcare.”

New Jersey’s 71 hospitals have approximately 23,000 patient beds, of which only 2,000 are critical care unit beds. The New Jersey Department of Health estimates that the state will need an additional 2,000 ICU beds within two weeks to meet the high demand as the outbreak continues. The lawmakers pointed to a research study conducted by the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers University-Camden that found the state may have a hospital bed shortfall of 123,000 to 313,000 in the coming months.

“Assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Military to expand our healthcare capacity through converting existing space and constructing new, emergency field hospitals in order to mitigate the hospital shortfalls our state will inevitably face is urgently needed now,” the lawmakers wrote. “In difficult times such as now, we should be using all available resources of the federal government to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Earlier this week, New Jersey’s congressional delegation supported Gov. Murphy’s call for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to deliver much needed medical supplies, including personal protective gear, to assist frontline health care workers in their response.

A copy of the letter to President Trump can be found here and below.

Dear Mr. President:

We write to urge you to approve Governor Murphy’s request for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Military to aid our New Jersey’s ongoing effort to increase hospital and intensive care unit capacity.  We must act quickly and decisively to prevent our hospitals and healthcare facilities from being completely overwhelmed in the coming weeks and months. 

Across 71 hospitals in New Jersey, there are only approximately 23,000 hospital beds, with 55% of those beds occupied. Of those 23,000 beds, just 2,000 are critical care unit beds. New Jersey Department of Health estimates that in two weeks, our state may need an additional 2,000 critical care beds, with 10% of those beds needing ventilators.  The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers University-Camden found that New Jersey may have a hospital bed shortfall of 123,000 to 313,000 in the coming months.  Assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Military to expand our healthcare capacity through converting existing space and constructing new, emergency field hospitals in order to mitigate the hospital shortfalls our state will inevitably face is urgently needed now.

The State of New Jersey is already working around the clock to revitalize and expand hospital infrastructure, but it will need support from the federal government to be sufficiently prepared for the anticipated influx of severe COVID-19 cases.  New Jersey has already mobilized its national guard to investigate how to increase hospital infrastructure.  Furthermore, our state’s Health Commissioner has been working with hospitals in reopening closed hospital wings, and is reviewing if it is possible to restore a closed hospital.  Support at the federal level will help our state to meet its needs and allow those who contract the coronavirus to receive lifesaving healthcare.

In difficult times such as now, we should be using all available resources of the federal government to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. Assistance from the U.S. Military and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in expanding hospital and intensive care unit capacity will allow our state to meet the challenges we face. We appreciate your consideration of our request.

 

Sincerely,

Press Contact

Chris_Flores@menendez.senate.gov