New Jersey hospitals are caring for 385 COVID-19 patients today – the lowest number on record since New Jersey began formally tracking COVID hospitalizations through the New Jersey Hospital Association data portal. On March 24, 2020, hospitals reported 1,478 hospitalized patients just 20 days after the state’s first COVID case was confirmed on March 4. Today’s number of hospitalized COVID patients is lower than the previous low reached during last summer’s slowdown, when the state’s hospitals reported 389 inpatients in September.
Today’s new low in hospitalized patients 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,” said NJHA President and CEO Cathy Bennett. “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.”
The peak of COVID hospitalizations occurred on April 14, 2020, when hospitals were filled with 8,270 COVID patients and were converting cafeterias and conference rooms into new patient units. Without that added capacity, New Jersey’s 71 acute care hospitals would have been short 251 ICU beds on that peak date. There were other surges as well, such as late fall 2020, when hospitals once again were challenged with 3,873 COVID patients.
The hospitalization trendline parallels other declines in the number of confirmed COVID cases and in COVID deaths. It coincides with another critical trend – the growing number of individuals getting vaccinated against the virus.
“With vaccination increasing, we are once again able to enjoy the social activities and the greater freedoms that signal a return to normalcy,” said Bennett. “The data is clear – New Jersey is on its way back.”
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