TRENTON, NJ --  Governor Phil Murphy used part of his now daily press briefing Friday to issue an urgent call for health care professionals to sign-up as volunteers in the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

His tone reflecting the gravity of the issue Murphy also announced that 27 New Jerseyans passed away in the last day from the coronavirus bringing the total loss of life to 108 with statewide. An 1,982 individuals have also tested positive, bringing the total to 8,825 residents having contracted the illness, he said. 

Murphy said that he anticipates that the coronavirus pandemic will "bleed meaningfully into May."

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In a call to action Murphy asked for skilled doctors and nurses, EMTs, medical and nursing students and members of the Armed Forces Medical Corps to volunteer to provide critical health care service. Those healthy and able to provide medical care can sign-up online by clicking here. Volunteers are asked to come from across New Jersey and nationwide to fill the need. The Administration is working on lodging arrangements for those who travel to provide this critical health care.   

Murphy also said that he has authorized advanced payment of $140 million to health care providers to ensure viability of necessary care.   

In addition, three "field hospital" locations are being established, at the Meadowlands Expositions Center in Secaucus, New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, and the Atlantic City Convention Center to help meet the need as existing hospitals become overwhelmed with patients. The Meadowands site is anticipated to open first as early as April 4 and will serve as a general hospital.  The location in Edison will serve as a "COVID-only" hospital.  

Saying that health care workers and first responders "deserve a window into this" access to testing, Murphy also noted that testing locations at the Bergen County Community College and PNC Arts Center will be focusing on testing symptomatic health care workers and first responders. 

There are an estimated two dozen testing locations throughout New Jersey and can be found online by clicking here

Murphy forcefully reminded "all businesses and non-hospital health care facilities in possession of PPE that they're not using for critical health care services have until 5:00 PM today to submit inventory info" via the state's online system.  "This reporting was ordered. I expect full compliance," Murphy said. 

State Health Commissioner Judy Persichelli believes that the State currently has enough ventilators but noted that a change in the "surge" of cases could increase the demand.  She noted that there are 2,000 ICU beds in New Jersey and suggested the healthcare system would ultimately need a ventilator for each bed with an additional 300 on standby. 

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