N.J. ventilator use drops below 200 for 1st time since number was announced

There was a time — just a few months ago — when New Jersey was concerned about crucial COVID-19 questions involving ventilators:

How do we figure out how to share them?

And, if we can’t, how do we determine who gets them when demand is higher than availability?

On Sunday, the state announced that fewer than 200 people were on ventilators — just 187 as of 10 p.m. Saturday night. It’s a remarkable statistic, especially considering that 1,705 New Jerseyans were on ventilators on April 14, just a day or two from the state’s peak.

The first day the state released figures, April 4, there were 1,346 patients on ventilators.

The sub-200 number may not hold, as two of the state’s 71 hospitals had not reported their information — typical of the lag that comes on the weekend. But it is a significant number, nonetheless.

Still, we’re not out of the woods yet.

Gov. Phil Murphy also announced Sunday there were 354 new cases, bringing the state’s overall total to 171,182. But, while we have flattened the curve, the virus has not gone away.

Look no further than to Florida for proof: It announced more than 8,500 new cases for the third consecutive day — increasing its overall total to more than 140,000. Florida passed 100,000 cases just last Monday, proving how powerful COVID-19 is — and how quickly it can spread.

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