Gottheimer calls on governor to take essential action to protect New Jersey from Omicron and combat impacts on communities, hospitals, families and students
Visit Holy Name Medical Center test site in Teaneck
Thank you to frontline healthcare workers
GLEN ROCK, NJ – US Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) calls on Gov. Phil Murphy to take essential action to help the state tackle the current outbreak of COVID-19 Omicron and its impacts on hospital staff, families, students and communities.
Gottheimer asks Governor Murphy to:
- Alleviating hospital staff shortages by allowing recently retired healthcare professionals to have their licenses temporarily reactivated and by allowing certain providers to help, where most needed, outside of their regular scope of practice;
- Further use the New Jersey National Guard to expand COVID-19 testing capacity in our hardest hit communities; and
- Continue vital efforts to keep schools safe and open for in-person education.
Today, Gottheimer visited the COVID-19 testing site at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck to emphasize the importance of getting tested, to raise awareness of testing options in the Fifth District, and to thank first-aid health workers. line for their hard work. Gottheimer was joined by the Mayor of Teaneck, James Dunleavy, Nancy Palamara, Pharm.D, Vice President, Diagnostics and Therapeutics at Holy Name Medical Center, and Edward Torres, Executive Director, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Holy Name Medical Center. .
“In the weeks following November 30, when public health officials first identified the Omicron variant as a ‘variant of concern,’ Americans saw the rapid spread of the new variant and its ability to escape. vaccination. […] As a result of my discussions with Fifth District constituents and North Jersey public health officials, I believe there are several additional steps your administration can take to mitigate the impact of the Omicron variant, ” Congressman Josh Gottheimer wrote in a letter to Governor Phil Murphy this week. “By taking the additional measures described here, we can reduce the impact of the Omicron variant and minimize the disruption it will cause in the weeks to come.”
The full text of the letter can be found here and below:
January 7, 2022
The Honorable Phil Murphy
Governor, State of New Jersey
P.O. Box 001
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
Dear Governor Murphy:
In the weeks following November 30, when public health officials first identified the Omicron variant as a “variant of concern,” Americans saw the rapid spread of the new variant and its ability to escape. the vaccination. I commend you for the State of New Jersey’s swift response to this new phase of the pandemic, including your work to ensure that New Jersey residents remain vigilant with vaccinations and mask wear.
However, additional actions are necessary to better equip our communities to manage this variant. Several steps could be immediately beneficial: (1) extend the flexibility of the license to practice and the scope of practice for front-line workers in order to increase the supply of qualified providers; (2) further use of the New Jersey National Guard to expand COVID-19 testing; and (3) continue your efforts to keep schools open – not only for the continuity of education, but also because of the implications of school closings on child care, which would further exacerbate the challenges facing our workers. essentials are faced.
You quickly prepared New Jersey for the Omicron variant. Since the beginning of December, when authorities detected the first case of Omicron in the state, you have called on the people of Jersey to get vaccinated, boosted and wear masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Over the past few days, you have worked alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase community access to testing in underserved areas of our state. These steps, coupled with the groundbreaking work of the New Jersey life sciences industry to bring cutting-edge therapeutics to market, have strengthened the foundation we now have to fight the current wave of this pandemic.
Despite all of this progress, as a result of my discussions with Fifth District constituents and North Jersey public health officials, I believe there are several additional steps your administration can take to mitigate the impact of the Omicron variant. First, the hospital systems in my district face immediate staffing shortages due to high infection rates among frontline workers. I was delighted to see your administration’s request this week for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “strike teams” to be deployed to New Jersey to address systems staff burnout. crucial hospitals. Additionally, I encourage your administration to extend the recently expired license and scope of practice flexibilities of your Executive Order (EO) 112, issued at the onset of the pandemic. As you know, this EO has taken various steps to increase the availability of frontline health professionals. Unfortunately, with the rise of the Omicron wave, these steps are needed again.
Second, as you know, hospital systems in my district have been hit hard in recent days by the wave of testing, as schools, workplaces, travel destinations and other public accommodation demand the proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Due to the difficulty for many of my constituents to access rapid home tests, hospital emergency departments were faced with an onslaught of otherwise healthy people coming to the emergency department looking for of a COVID-19 test. This event reflects the demand for greater accessibility of tests. It also affects the entire health care system, making it difficult for people in urgent need of treatment to get the care they need. While waiting for additional rapid home tests to be dispatched, I encourage you to make further use of the New Jersey National Guard to expand COVID-19 testing capacity in our hardest hit communities.
Finally, I was delighted with your administration’s rollout on January 1 of a “test-to-stay” program for K-12 schools in New Jersey. As a result, more students will stay in school and receive in-person instruction by a combination of contact tracing and frequent testing. As you have recognized, in-person education, where possible, and the resulting benefits for our children are far preferable to distance learning. Without in-person education, many parents face the difficult choice of continuing to work or staying home to care for their children. Indeed, hospital administrators in North Jersey have told me about the importance of in-person instruction to prevent further depletion of their workforce, which is made up primarily of parents of school-aged children. . Doing everything in our power to keep children in school must remain a priority.
Thank you for your continued leadership during this difficult time and for the immediate steps you have already taken to move New Jersey forward beyond this pandemic. By taking the additional measures described here, we can reduce the impact of the Omicron variant and minimize the disruption it will cause in the weeks to come. I appreciate your consideration.
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