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Some ventilators N.J. got from federal government aren’t working, Murphy says

Some ventilators N.J. got from federal government aren’t working, Murphy says
Gov. Murphy tours the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus
As coronavirus cases continue to climb in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday morning that some of the ventilators New Jersey has received from the federal government to treat the most critical patients are not working.
Murphy said the state has so far received 850 machines from President Donald Trump’s administration. The Federal Emergency Management Agency delivered 650 of the ventilators this week, he said.
But the governor said during a radio interview that he “got news overnight some ventilators are not working."
“I don’t have any other color on that,” Murphy said on “NPR Morning Edition.” “At least 15 are not what they needed to be.”
He said the state is still seeking 1,650 more from the federal government, as hospitals in the northern New Jersey begin to see a surge in patients, with some being forced to divert patients to other facilities.
“We’re using them as fast as we’re getting them,” Murphy said.
Meanwhile, FEMA is helping to construct three pop-up field hospitals in the state to help handle patients. The first, in Secaucus, is set to open next week.Earlier this week, The New York Times that said more than 2,000 ventilators in the federal government’s emergency stockpile can’t be deployed because they were not maintained while they were stored.
Also, federal officials this week told a U.S. House committee that the nation has only 9,500 ventilators left in the stockpile.
As of Thursday afternoon, New Jersey, a state of 9 million people, has at least 25,590 cases of COVID-19, including at least 537 deaths. That’s the second-most cases of COVID-19 in the country, after New York.
The virus is now the most common form of death in the state.Murphy has said the state is in desperate need of supplies — not just ventilators, but testing materials and protective gear for health-care workers and first responders. The state is seeking equipment from the federal government, buying its own, and receiving donations from private companies.
The governor signed an executive order to allow the head of the State Police to commandeer equipment from private companies if needed.
“We can’t take any chances," the governor told NPR. "We can’t afford to not turn over every stone.”
Trump tweeted Thursday that some states and hospitals seeking equipment from the federal government “have insatiable appetites and are never satisfied.”Then, during a White House press briefing Thursday, Jared Kushner, the Livingston native who is Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, criticized some states for relying on the national stockpile.
“The notion of the federal stockpile was: It’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner said. “It’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use.”
“So we’re encouraging the states to make sure that they’re assessing the needs, they’re getting the data from their local situations, and then trying to fill it with the supplies that we’ve given them," he added.
According to the federal Health and Human Services Department: “When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency."
“Remember, we are a backup for them,” the president added. “The complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit.”Murphy declined to criticize Kushner’s comments Friday morning.
“It does, however, feel like we entered this war — and it is a war — with less ammunition than we needed. A lot less,” the governor said. "That’s gonna be a challenge."
“We’re grateful for what we got,” he added. “But we’re gonna need a lot more.”
Murphy has ordered New Jerseyans to stay at home, banned social gatherings, closed schools, and mandated non-essential businesses close in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus. He has said he expects the state to be dealing with the fallout of the virus “deep into May.”

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