COVID-19 hospitalizations at lowest level since N.J. began recording total

The number of COVID-19 patients being cared for in New Jersey hospitals continues to drop — falling to the lowest number since the state began tracking the information on March 24, 2020.

On Sunday, the state reported there were only 377 COVID-19 patients in hospitals — following totals of 388 on Saturday and 383 on Friday.

On Friday, New Jersey Hospital Association CEO Cathy Bennett said the new low represents a watershed moment as the state continues to track a variety of trendlines showing a steady return to pre-pandemic numbers.

“For 16 months, New Jersey hospital teams and their patients have ridden this rollercoaster of COVID cases and surges,” she said. “But this milestone represents a steady, sustained decline that signals to us that New Jersey may finally be putting the worst of this pandemic behind us.”

On March 24, 2020, hospitals reported 1,478 hospitalized patients.

Other COVID-19 related news:

Task force on racial and health disparities

Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Friday to create the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic Task Force on Racial and Health Disparities.

Last month, the bill was returned to the Legislature with recommendations to strengthen the task force by adding additional members, including representation from the Division on Civil Rights and the Division of Consumer Affairs, both in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted our minority communities, and we must work together to eliminate the existing racial disparities in health care,” Murphy said. “The revisions sent back to the Legislature further strengthen this bill and will bring together the perspectives and expertise necessary to achieve equity and meaningful health care reform.”

State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City), one of the sponsors, said the task force is urgently needed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic ravaged minority communities throughout the United States,” she said. “Predominantly Black counties account for only 30% of the U.S. population, and yet they were the location of 56% of COVID-19 deaths. In order to effectively help these communities and prevent this from happening again in the future, we must understand why the pandemic hit them so hard and come up with long-lasting strategies to eradicate health disparities.”