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New Jersey Senate Republicans

Senator Anthony M. Bucco

Amid Pandemic Crisis, Bucco Calls for Front Office Business Advocate

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Senator Anthony M. Bucco (R-Morris County) released the following statement amid the COVID-19 crisis and growing economic uncertainty:

Sen. Anthony Bucco released the following statement amid the COVID-19 crisis and growing economic uncertainty. (©iStock)

“First off, I want to commend the Governor and the administration for their leadership throughout this pandemic and the uncertain times confronting residents, businesses and government alike. Our state’s response must first and foremost be about protecting the health and safety of our residents. That is clear. But with each passing day, businesses small and large are losing revenues necessary to sustain operations and jobs. With a myriad of businesses across our state with different challenges, ideas, and concerns, there is no single answer on how to confront the economic challenges before the Garden State.

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Independent Physicians Align with Senator Pennacchio on Physician Autonomy

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Physicians Wrote to Governor Calling for Early Treatment with HCQ

An additional group of doctors has contacted a New Jersey State Senator calling on the State to lift restrictions on the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for the therapeutic treatment and prophylactic early treatment of COVID-19.

Sen. Pennacchio said the Murphy Administration needs to allow doctors to be doctors, remove the unnecessary shackles, and let them save lives using HCQ as a preventive treatment for the coronavirus. (Flickr)

The doctors are echoing Senator Pennacchio’s appeal for New Jersey to accumulate a stockpile of the medication.

“Major pharmacies that have a presence in New Jersey have committed to donating more than 100 million pills,” said Pennacchio. “How many has the Administration secured for us?”

Pennacchio also wants the State to immediately compile a priority list for the HCQ distribution, ensuring enough medication for those currently prescribed for maladies including Lupus and RA, distribution to patients who have developed COVID-19, and for citizens as a preventive treatment.

“I am optimistic these measures would decrease the severity and duration of the disease,” said Pennacchio. “The goal must be breaking the pandemic so people can be allowed to return to their normal lives.

“Allow doctors to be doctors. Remove the State’s unnecessary shackles, and let them save lives,” Pennacchio urged.

Doctor’s Letter to Governor

Dear Governor Murphy,

Based on the current circumstances of an extremely contagious deadly COVID19 virus that is creating chaos in our state and the world, your order to restrict physicians from writing prescriptions to treat their patients with Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), we believe, is contrary to the best practices of medical care. We, as perhaps you, believe in the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship in personalized individual management and care, and that it must lie in the knowledge and wisdom between those two entities and not artificially imposed by others.

Your administration’s order of restriction to use HCQ, prevents patients’ access to a potential life-saving medicine, especially when administered in the early phase of the disease. (1) Creating such a mandate may risk the lives of many New Jersey residents.

Timely access to these medications may mean the difference between life or death for patients facing the battle of their lives. We respectfully suggest that working with New Jersey’s robust pharmaceutical industry to increase the supply of these drugs, both for NJ and the rest of America would benefit the residents of New Jersey and across the country.

Early treatment is crucial for keeping patients out of the hospital and off ventilators. Delaying treatment results in the opposite, more sick patients ending up in overburdened facilities.
HCQ prevents the virus from gaining access to the human cell and in doing so it prevents the infection. Additionally, in those patients who already have infection in their system, HCQ prevents access to the cellular structure called Endoplasmic Reticulum where it replicates. Preventing such replication, reduces the viral load and hence allows the human immune system to fight off the infection. Without this drug, many valuable human lives will be cut short with such an order as proposed and promulgated by your administration. (2)

Other State Governors of Nevada and Michigan formulated similar mechanisms of restrictions to the use of Hydroxychloroquine but seeing the burgeoning loss of life quickly reversed course. If restriction is to prevent hoarding of the medication, then perhaps using the Texas model of limiting the drug dosing for 10 days (20 pills) might be more appropriate. It prevents harm to our vulnerable, sick and infirmed patients. (3)

HCQ has many decades of history as used in the care of patients with Malaria and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Knowing its very low toxicity and it poses very little if any threat to the patient, clinicians in New York, Kansas, elsewhere are reportedly preventing deaths and ARDS/ventilator dependent long ICU stays. Waiting for placebo-controlled trials is not a wartime battlefield strategy, given the urgency of treatment.

As physicians it is our duty to treat patients with the best available therapy and available evidence to circumvent disease at its earliest phase, so as to prevent the loss of life and any future morbidity. It is with that wisdom and acquired knowledge that we respectfully ask you to reconsider this restrictive mandate.

That these drugs are effective against COVID-19 has been proven in laboratory experiments. (4) And now evidence is mounting that these drugs are working to decrease viral load in patients. Decreased viral loads means patients not only avoid the hospital but are less infectious to others.(1) There is growing evidence that early administration even in mild cases of COVID-19 prevents progression to worse disease, likely attenuating the need for ventilators and ICU beds and improves symptoms. (5) This will decrease the burden on the healthcare system and upon the doctors and nurses that bear the ultimately responsibility of the patient’s care.

The information available from across the world suggests that the prudent course of action is not to put hurdles in the path of patient care by restricting most valuable medications that can protect a human life. In fact, India is officially recommending health care professionals and family members of sick patients prophylactically take HCQ. (6) The New York Times reports of a recent study: “Cough, fever and pneumonia went away faster, and the disease seemed less likely to turn severe in people who received hydroxychloroquine than in a comparison group not given the drug.” (7)

We respectfully ask that you review this decision, given the influence of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It is with great respect and urgency that we ask you to reconsider this decision that can potentially cause a significant loss of life in the state of New Jersey. Each patient care decision is unique to an individual and their own personal situation and value system. Patients and their physicians must carefully weigh the risks and benefits of every potential intervention. The confidential patient-physician relationship must be held sacrosanct for this purpose.

Best health,

Craig M. Wax DO, Family Medicine
Parvez Dara, MD, Hematology/Oncology
Jim Thomas, MD, Interventional Radiology
Theresa Thomas, MD
Joeseph J. Fallon, Jr., MD, Endocrinology
Carl J. Minniti Jr., MD Medical Oncology & Hematology
Charles Dietzek, DO Vascular Surgery
Indrani Sen Hightower, MD, Neurology
Alieta Eck, MD, Family Medicine
Kelly Victory, MD, Trauma and Emergency Medicine,
Disaster Preparedness and Response
Christine Saba, MD, Pediatrics
Kim Legg Corba, DO, Family Medicine
Marion Mass, MD, Pediatrics
Katerina Lindley, DO, Family Medicine
Theresa Thomas, MD, Internal Medicine
Thomas W Kendall, MD
Family Medicine
Robert Campbell MD
Anesthesiology
Pain Management
Jane Hughes, MD, Ophthalmology
Kris Held, MD, Ophthalmology
Michael J. A. Robb, M.D., Oto-Neurology
Joel L. Strom, D.D.S.,M.S., General Dentistry
Independent Physicians for Patient Independence

References:

  1. Efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in patients with COVID-19: results of a randomized clinical trial
  2. COVID-19 Drug Therapy – Potential Options
  3. Gov. Whitner reverses course on coronavirus drugs
  4. Remdesivir and chloroquine effectively inhibit the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in vitro
  5. Efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in patients with COVID-19
  6. Recommendation for empiric use of hydroxy-chloroquine for prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection
  7. Malaria Drug Helps Virus Patients Improve, in Small Study

 

Senator Michael Testa

Testa, McClellan & Simonsen Advise NJ Tax Filers of Deadline Extension

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Vow to Fight for South Jersey During Budget Process

Senator Michael Testa Jr. and Assemblymen Antwan McClellan and Erik K. Simonsen are alerting residents that the deadline for filing New Jersey income taxes has been delayed until July 15, coinciding with the extended federal deadline.

Senator Testa and Assemblymen McClellan and Simonsen informed residents that New Jersey Income Taxes are not due until July due to the coronavirus pandemic. (SenateNJ.com)

“People are worried and concerned about the coronavirus pandemic,” said Testa (R-1). “COVID-19 has upended everyday life and created severe financial strain on residents. Good news has been hard to come by, but the tax filing delay will lighten the stress levels on those who are isolating at home and trying to keep themselves and families safe and well.”

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Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: New Jersey’s Treatment of COVID-19 Patients Makes No Sense

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Urges State to Unshackle the Doctors to Break Pandemic

New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio once again questioned how the State is dictating how doctors may treat their patients.

The State can curb the spread of coronavirus if the Murphy Administration allows doctors to use hydroxychloroquine to protect patients before they get sick, Senator Pennacchio said. (©iStock)

“Instead of allowing doctors to prophylactically or immediately treat patients, New Jersey is requiring them to have a full-blown case of coronavirus before action can be taken,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “By that time, in many cases, it is too late.”

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Senator Mike Doherty

Doherty Commends Robotics Club for Commitment to Build 10,000 PPE Face Shields

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Collaborative Effort Between Warren Hills Regional HS, Special Technical Services, and Mt. Olive HS

Senator Michael Doherty praised the Warren Hills Robotics Association (WHRA) for their efforts to raise $20,000 to assemble 10,000 face shields for first responders.

Sen. Michael Doherty praised the Warren Hills Robotics Association for their efforts to raise $20,000 to assemble 10,000 face shields for first responders. (CDC)

“In this tumultuous time, ordinary people are stepping up to the plate to do extraordinary things,” said Doherty (R-23). “We need all hands on deck to beat this virus.

“WHRA’s proactive approach will help keep our medical personnel safe from COVID-19. To all donating and participating – thank you for your lifesaving endeavors.”

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District 24

Oroho, Space & Wirths Remind Business Owners About Small Business Administration Loan Programs

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Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths want to remind small business owners of a special loan program which is sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Sen. Oroho and Assemblymen Space and Wirths are urging employers being hurt by the coronavirus pandemic to investigate the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help cope with the loss of revenue. (SenateNJ.com)

All small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000.

“These are extremely tough times for small business owners in Sussex, Warren, and Morris counties,” said Oroho (R-24). “These hard-working men and women need to look into programs that will help them out while we are in the emergency and until we get back to normal.”

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District 10

Holzapfel, McGuckin & Catalano Join with New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association for Personal Protective Equipment Drive

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The 10th District Legislators are proud to join forces with the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association on their Personal Protective Equipment Drive.

Holzapfel, McGuckin and Catalano are working with the NJ State Police Fraternal Association to collect desperately needed masks and other personal protective equipment to protect first responders and health care workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblyman Greg McGuckin and John Catalano would also like to commend Community Surgical Supply on making the first donation of KN95 masks to this worthy cause. The legislators have released the following statement and applaud everyone involved in donating to the Personal Protective Equipment Drive.

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District 13

O’Scanlon, DiMaso & Scharfenberger Applaud Court’s Reversal on Release of Dangerous Prisoners

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Senator Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger (all R-Monmouth) today applauded the NJ Supreme Court’s decision to reverse an order that nearly permitted the release of seven criminals into the public.

Sen. O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman DiMaso and Assemblyman Scharfenberger commended the work of Monmouth County’s prosecutor and sheriff after the NJ Supreme Court voted to block the planned release from jail of seven high-risk criminals. (Flickr)

“This is a huge win for the rule of law,” said O’Scanlon. “Monmouth should be extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of Prosecutor Gramiccioni and his dedicated team of assistant prosecutors. Thankfully, they, and Sheriff Golden raised the alarm early about this and worked at a grueling pace to prevent it. This would have been an unmitigated disaster without them.”

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District 10

Holzapfel, McGuckin & Catalano Bill Will Penalize Public Gatherings During Emergency with $15,000 Fines

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In response to the continuation of public gatherings in various parts of the state in violation of an executive order during the COVID-19 public health crisis and State of Emergency, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano (all R-10) will introduce legislation to create significant monetary penalties for those who host gatherings in violation of the “Emergency Health Powers Act.”  Governor Murphy has ordered all New Jerseyans to stay home to slow the transmission and spread of the coronavirus, a highly infectious disease.

After repeated reports of large social gatherings held in the State, Sen. Holzapfel and Asm. McGuckin & Catalano will introduce legislation that would crack down on those who violate the Emergency Health Powers Act. (©iStock)

“There have been a number of large public gatherings since the Governor has issued the stay at home order, and we feel violators should face significant consequences for failure to comply with a directive that’s necessary to save lives,” stated Senator Holzapfel.  “During this public health crisis, the executive order mandating social distancing should not be taken lightly.  Mass gatherings during this pandemic put an unnecessary strain on an already fragile healthcare system, create risk for responding law enforcement officers, and threaten the lives of participants.”

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Senator Michael Testa

Testa Calls on NJDOC to Protect Corrections Officers from COVID-19

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To better keep Corrections Officers and their families safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Michael Testa called to enact a variety of measures to help slow the spread in state prisons.

To better keep Corrections Officers and their families safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Michael Testa called to enact a variety of measures to help slow the spread in state prisons. (SenateNJ.com)

“New Jersey is not doing enough to keep our Corrections Officers safe from coronavirus,” said Testa (R- Cumberland, Cape May, Atlantic). “While hundreds of inmates are free to go, corrections officers still must show up to work, day in and day out, to maintain the safety and security of our communities. Enhancing precautionary measures against this evolving pandemic, such as enacting smarter social distancing policies, will keep officers and their loved ones at home safe from COVID-19.”

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Republican Senators

Tom Kean

District 21 - Republican Leader

Kip Bateman

District 16

Chris Brown

District 2

Anthony M. Bucco

District 25

Gerald Cardinale

District 39

Kristin Corrado

District 40

Michael Doherty

District 23

Jim Holzapfel

District 10

Steven Oroho

District 24

Declan O'Scanlon

District 13

Joe Pennacchio

District 26

Robert Singer

District 30

Michael Testa

District 1

Samuel Thompson

District 12

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