NEW JERSEY– Governor Phil Murphy Friday signed Executive Order No. 145, allowing elective surgeries and invasive procedures, both medical and dental, to resume on Tuesday, May 26 at 5:00 a.m. These procedures will resume according to policies that will be issued by the New Jersey Department of Health and the Division of Consumer Affairs by Monday, May 18. This order rescinds the suspension of all elective surgeries and invasive procedures performed on adults, which was instituted beginning on March 27 under Executive Order No. 109 to preserve essential equipment and health care system capacity to respond to COVID-19.
“Our collective efforts to flatten the curve in New Jersey has alleviated the crisis burden on our health care systems and hospitals across the state,” Murphy said. “Due to the incredible work and sacrifice of our residents, we are now positioned to take another vital step forward in New Jersey’s restart and recovery process. While still focusing on the importance of our COVID-19 response, our health care systems now have the capacity and resources to resume the critical role of serving their patients and ensuring the health of our communities.”
“With the strain on hospital capacity and resources declining and a significant decrease in the number of patients presenting with coronavirus symptoms, we are allowing a phased-in reopening of elective surgeries beginning with urgent surgical procedures at hospitals. Safety and protection of patients and staff will be paramount,” Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “Facilities must develop plans to test patients within 72 hours of surgery and conduct symptom screening the day of surgery. Patients who test positive for COVID-19 prior to surgery or who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should not have elective surgical procedures.”
Among the directives, Executive Order No. 145 requires that the Department of Health issue policies by Monday, May 18 that will address how elective surgeries and invasive procedures may proceed in health care facilities.
These policies will address relevant considerations, such as the following:
- Which types of facilities can resume these procedures;
- Which specific facilities are eligible to resume these procedures, based upon their current or potential capacity;
- Whether facilities will be required to prioritize certain procedures, and if so, what considerations should guide these decisions;
- Personal Protective Equipment requirements for facilities that resume these procedures;
- Staffing requirements for facilities that resume these procedures;
- Whether facilities should cohort COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients;
- Requirements for patients seeking these procedures to undergo testing, self-quarantine, or other preventive measures, as applicable;
- Policies surrounding visitors;
- Policies surrounding discharge of patients after the procedures are completed; and
- Reporting metrics regarding the resumption of these procedures.
Also, by Monday, May 18, the Division of Consumer Affairs will issue policies addressing similar considerations for how elective surgeries and invasive procedures may proceed in outpatient settings that are not licensed by the Department of Health.