TOMS RIVER, NJ – The COVID-19 virus is is not killing as many people today as it did just a few months, even a few weeks ago in New Jersey. According to Governor Phil Murphy, just 40 patients remain on ventilators, many of them long term care patients in intensive care.
That’s in part because patients are being treated better and earlier for the virus and ventilators are no longer the first option for patients who contract the virus with serious respiratory conditions.
According to Brian Gragnolati, CEO of Atlantic Health Systems, patients with chronic symptoms are no longer being put on ventilators. Now, he said they are being put on CPAP/BI-PAP machines. They are the same ones used by sleep apnea patients at home.
Gragnolati said the lifesaving drug remdesivir is also given to patients and it has significantly reduced the mortality rate of the virus.
“Initially, we were using it once patients were on ventilators. Now we’re using it a little earlier in the process and that has had some very positive results,” Gragnolati said. “We continue to learn, and we continue to share those ideas and that really has made a big, big difference.”
At the height of the pandemic, nearly 1,600 people in New Jersey were on ventilators in crowded hospitals.
Today, just 91 patients are in intensive care units statewide. 278 patients are in the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms down from almost 10,000 back in April.