Hospital CEO says 2nd surge (including nearly 2,500 new cases) was expected — and can be handled

Gov. Phil Murphy reported the state had 2,472 new positive cases Wednesday — the significance of which is getting harder to quantify.

Know this: The second surge is here.

After a summer in which these daily numbers hovered around 500 for months, the state has topped the 1,000 mark every day since Oct. 18. That’s 18 consecutive days.

Wednesday’s number is just the second time New Jersey has been over 2,000 new cases in that stretch — and just the second time since announcing 2,494 new cases all the way back on May 6.

There are now 1,213 people hospitalized (including 638 in the North, which is repeating its role as the hardest-hit region). There are 238 patients in intensive care and 80 on ventilators.

But, if you’re looking for good news, consider this: Hospital leaders have been expecting this, feel they can handle the surge — and say it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault.

Barry Ostrowsky, the CEO of RWJBarnabas Health, said as much in a recent interview.

“Honestly, I think this was expected,” he said. “I think his expectation was bottomed in part on the fact that, while we had a lull, there would be moves to allow things to reopen, and the natural consequences of that was going to be a spread of the infection.

“So, I don’t think it’s a shock. I think the fact that the numbers are so radically different than they may have been 10 weeks ago is just disconcerting, but I don’t think is particularly surprising. I think it was anticipated, and we’re dealing with it.”

Wednesday’s total pushed the state’s cumulative total to 245,257. Murphy also reported nine new fatalities for a total of 14,591 — a number that does not include nearly 2,000 more presumed fatalities.