The former Muhlenberg Hospital may again have a medical use during this time of crisis.
New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced during a press conference today that a facility that used to be a hospital in Plainfield is a candidate to provide extra beds to treat residents suffering with COVID-19.
“It is over 100,000 square feet,” said Persichilli, “It’s 48,000 square feet per floor. And the US Army Corps of Engineers will be looking at it tomorrow.”
She says that it would take five weeks to fit out the former Muhlenberg to be able to provide care again. She estimates that it could accommodate 200 hospital beds.
Hospital beds are crucial with the impending surge of patients, as the virtually all experts expect the US epidemic to overwhelm the healthcare system. In shortest supply will be ICU beds and ventilators. There are between 160,000 and 177,000 ventilators in the United States right now. According to the American Hospital Association, over 960,000 people may need ventilators over the course of the epidemic – but there are both lower and much higher estimates based on how much citizens and lawmakers are able to “flatten the curve“.
While there are logistical, supply chain difficulties in quickly producing ventilators, space for hospital beds will also be in short order – and, fortunately, the ghost of Muhlenberg may help close that gap. It may save lives, again.
We can all do our part to save lives, too – through washing our hands often (for 20 seconds), wiping down surfaces, covering our coughs, and social distancing. Social distancing is probably the most difficult of these measures – but it’s the most important. Learn more about it here.
The New York Times has taken down its paywall for articles about coronavirus, and they are a great source of information. Here is their section about the pandemic.
There are very tough times ahead, but we can all play a part of defeating the coronavirus.