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Coronavirus Latest: New Jersey Joins Regional Purchasing Consortium To Fight COVID-19 As Statewide Cases Top 126,500

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey is joining its surrounding states to launch a regional purchasing consortium for medical equipment needed to fight the coronavirus as the state's cases top 126,500. New Jersey health officials announced an additional 3,144 COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 126,744.

There were also another 137 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the death toll to 7,871.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the regional purchasing consortium Sunday afternoon during a joint press conference with the regional governors.

Cuomo says working together will increase the market power and help prevent price-gouging.

The states will be looking for suppliers from within the United States capable of supplying the regional group of items needed for the next three months, instead of purchasing mass quantities of items outside of the country.

Some of the items included in the regional purchasing consortium are PPE, coronavirus tests, ventilators and other medical equipment.

Gov. Murphy says the states shouldn't be competing against each other to obtain necessary medical equipment.

"Our states should never be in a position where we are actively competing against each other for life-saving resources," Governor Murphy said. "By working together across the region, we can obtain critical supplies as we begin the process to restart our economies, while also saving money for our taxpayers. This concept is at the heart of the regional approach we've established."

On Saturday, officials announced dozens of hospitals in New Jersey that have been treating coronavirus patients will be getting a large cash infusion from the federal government, which is providing billions of dollars to hospitals hardest hit by the pandemic.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services says 53 of the hardest hit hospitals are in the Garden State and will share a total of $1.7 billion in federal funding. The amount is the second largest given to any state, exceeded only by the amount going to health providers in New York.

The federal department said it is distributing $10 billion to 395 hospitals around the country that provided inpatient care for 100 or more COVID-19 patients through April 10 and will distribute an additional $2 billion to these hospitals "based on their Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share and uncompensated care payments."

Gov. Phil Murphy said he was "incredibly satisfied" by the cash infusion, which he said would help the state's health care systems stay on sound financial footing.

"Many of our hospitals have taken quite simply a financial beating over the past two months, in addition to the general beating they've taken as all of their resources have been focused on getting their staffs everything they need to be protected and everything COVID19 patients need to beat this virus," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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