Morristown Medical Center has taken a former rehab center in Morristown out of mothballs to treat COVID-19 patients, the hospital confirmed on Thursday.
The hospital started transferring “select adult patients” to the former Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute at 95 Mt. Kemble Ave. on Tuesday, said Karen Zatorski, a spokesperson for the Atlantic Health System, parent company of Morristown Medical Center.
Morristown Medical Center began preparing to reopen the site in February, as part of a “phased approach…for the COVID-19 public health emergency,” Zatorksi said.
“These fully operational rooms will serve as an extension of our medical-surgical units, and will be equipped, provisioned and staffed like similar floors at Morristown Medical Center,” she said.
She declined to say how many coronavirus patients have been transferred there, or how many are being treated at the 735-bed Morristown Medical Center.
“It’s just continuously changing,” Zatorski said.
Morristown Medical Center was at 48 percent capacity and was treating between 70 and 80 COVID-19 patients as of last Friday, hospital President Trish O’Keefe told Morristown Green at the time.
Those numbers have risen, but the hospital is not at capacity and it’s accepting patients diverted from other hospitals, Zatorski said.
On Thursday evening, the state’s website showed four hospitals across northern New Jersey on full- or partial divert status, either from overcrowded emergency rooms or general overcrowding.
They were Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Somerset, and Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth. Earlier in the week, Atlantic Health’s Chilton Medical Center in Pequannock was diverting patients.
Statewide, 537 New Jersey residents have died from the coronavirus as of Thursday, according to state figures. Forty of the deceased were from Morris County. At least one was from Morristown, according to the mayor’s office.
Some 69 cases have been confirmed in Morristown, with another 62 cases in Morris Township. Across Morris County, 1,082 persons have tested positive.
Atlantic Health had been in talks with developers who proposed building 115 housing units on the Morris Township side oft the steeply-sloped Mt. Kemble site, which straddles the Morristown border.
The project stalled in 2018 when Morristown officials raised concerns about its size and potential traffic impact.