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New Jersey re-establishes public health emergency as omicron overwhelms hospitals

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New Jersey re-establishes public health emergency as omicron overwhelms hospitals

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy addresses volunteers as he meets Newark Mayor Ras Baraka during the gubernatorial election in Newark, New Jersey, November 2, 2021.

Eduardo Munoz | Reuters

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday reinstated a public health emergency as hospitals struggle to cope with an influx of patients as Covid cases skyrocket amid a continuing shortage of workers of health.

The latest increase is due to the rise of the fast-spreading omicron variant, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says accounts for about 95% of sequenced cases of Covid-19 in the United States, although vaccines, and especially the booster doses, seem to resist serious illness and death, experts say the sheer volume of cases is overwhelming hospitals.

Murphy said the state is seeing nearly 35,000 new cases per day with more than 10,000 residents requiring hospitalization due to Covid in the past two weeks. Murphy’s new statement allows him to restore some emergency powers, including mask warrants in schools, while the first was due to expire earlier this month.

Murphy said the renewed declaration of emergency “will not even have any new impact” on the daily lives of local residents.

“That’s what it doesn’t mean,” he said. “It doesn’t mean new money orders or universal passports. It doesn’t mean lockdowns. It doesn’t mean trade restrictions or collection 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 subsequently tested positive, Dr Shereef Elnahal said in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday. But that’s not his biggest worry.

“I’m actually more concerned with a health issue than a Covid-19 issue,” Elnahal told CNBC’s Becky Quick. “Right now we see our demoralized workforce. There isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel that I can paint now like I did in the spring of 2020.”

He said the industry is losing talented clinicians between the ages of 45 and 60, “often the most energetic and capable people in the hospital.” It’s a problem that he says may in fact outlast the omicron, “which appears to have already plateaued at least in cases in the New York metro area.”

Elnahal said nearly 10% of his hospital staff have come out with Covid, pushing the hospital closer to a crisis staffing scenario with “uncomfortable” staff-to-patient ratios.

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

“What level of cases will define the endemic case?” ” he said. “What does this mean for the rules of the health care system and what we can do, what we should avoid? What capacity should we create? ? “

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WATCH: University hospital CEO on Covid staff crisis: Our staff are demoralized

New Jersey re-establishes public health emergency as omicron overwhelms hospitals

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