People treated for COVID-19 at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck — the early epicenter for the pandemic in New Jersey — spent on average about seven to nine days in the hospital, according to the facility’s chief medical officer.
As former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie closes in on a week since his admission at Morristown Medical Center to be treated for the virus, Holy Name’s track record provides some context for the one-time presidential candidate’s prognosis.
There are many variables that can shorten or lengthen a hospital stay, said Adam Jarrett, Holy Name’s Chief Medical Officer who is not involved with Christie’s case. They include age, weight and pre-existing conditions such as heart, lung and kidney and diabetes.
A seven- to nine-day hospital admission “doesn’t surprise me at all with this disease,” Jarrett told NJ Advance Media Friday. That’s enough time to determine if the patient has turned the corner and will not need a ventilator, he said.
“We had patients on ventilators for 30 or more days. The vast majority passed,” he added. “We had a handful of amazing stories in which people were on for a long time but were able to fight through it.”
Christie’s exact condition remains unknown and it’s still unclear what course of treatment he’s receiving. The former governor has asthma and has been hospitalized before with severe symptoms and has struggled with his weight.
The 58-year-old confidante to President Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted since Saturday, and doctors, family, and friends have not made any public announcements about how he’s doing. But a source familiar with the situation told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday that Christie was in good spirits, getting good care, and is not on a ventilator. Multiple sources said there were no changes as of Friday afternoon.
Holy Name’s experience is similar to what early studies have found.
A study led by University of California, Berkeley, and Kaiser Permanente found the average hospital stay in April was 10.7 days for patients who survived and 13.7 days for patients who died.
According to data analyzed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, hospitalized patients who survived without having to go to the intensive care unit spent a median seven days in the hospital if they were 75 years old or older; six days if they were 55-to-75 years old; five days if they were 45-to-54 years old, and four days if they were 19-to-44 years old.
Median value is considered a more accurate reflection of the typical experience than the average because median figures exclude the outliers of lowest and highest data.
Statewide, data on hospital stays varies, depending on the source. According to the state Health Department, the average length of stay for patients discharged with a COVID-19 diagnosis is 10 days, department spokeswoman Dawn Thomas said.
The state Health Department has reported 16,164 deaths attributed to the virus. New Jersey’s death toll is fourth highest in the U.S., after New York, Texas, and California. The Garden State has the nation’s highest COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 residents.
“At least for the last month or two, people seem to be less sick. We are seeing more patients who do not need to come to the hospital, and when they do, they seem to be less sick,” Jarrett said. “It’s because we understand the disease better, although not enough.”
Holy Name was the first hospital in the nation to administer the monoclonal antibody cocktail Trump received when he was hospitalized with COVID-19 last weekend, Jarrett said. Thirty of Holy Name’s patients are enrolled in a trial for the drug, he said. But still the disease continues to confound scientists and doctors.
“We are nowhere near where we can say we can treat this disease successfully,” Jarrett said.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.