Over 120 National Guard Soldiers To Help Combat Pandemic At Long-Term Care Facilities As Cases Top 133,500 – CBS Philly

TRENTON (CBS) — New Jersey is sending more than 120 National Guard soldiers to its long-term care facilities to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. The soldiers will be deployed beginning this weekend as the virus continues to ravage the state’s long-term care facilities.

“We don’t take this step lightly, but the crisis in our long-term care facilities requires us to take it,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.

The Camden County Board of Freeholders reached out to the state asking for assistance Wednesday.
Camden County has lost 207 lives to COVID-19 and nearly 70% of those deaths were in long-term care facilities, according to Camden County Freeholder Jonathan Young.

“We thought it was the right thing to do to make sure that we asked for monitoring inside of these institutions from the state because they’re the ones who control the license,” Young said.

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Camden County Freeholders are concerned about Avista Healthcare in Cherry Hill; Premier Cadbury at Cherry Hill; Genesis Voorhees Center in Voorhees; United Methodist Communities at Collingswood; and Lions Gate in Voorhees.

If the long-term care facility monitors come in the form of National Guard members, Camden County says they’ll take the assistance.

“If that’s the help that the state decides to send down there then we’ll take the help,” Young said.

Murphy announced another 1,827 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 133,635. Another 254 coronavirus-related deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 8,801.

While the number of cases continues to rise, the state is seeing a decrease in the number of patients being treated in hospitals.

“The number of patients currently being treated in our hospitals for COVID-19 has decreased to under 5,000, standing currently at 4,996,” Murphy said. “This is a milestone. It means that the stress on capacity is lessening.”

Murphy says the number of hospitalizations has decreased by 40% over three weeks and that the decrease is mainly because of residents’ social-distancing efforts.

“This number has been brought down in large part because of each of you,” Murphy said. “We cannot let up with our social distancing, the fewer new cases, the fewer people in the hospital. It’s that simple.”

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New Jersey has received more than 1 million unemployment claims and has sent out $1.9 billion in unemployment assistance over the last two months.

“This is an unemployment crisis unlike that which we have ever seen,” Murphy said. “Weekly claims are, literally, many times more than the New Jersey Labor Department has historically dealt with across entire months. We’ve heard you loud and clear. We know you’re frustrated. But, let’s get through this together.”

CBS3’s Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.

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