BY TOM HESTER SR.
Gov. Chris Christie will be released from Somerset Medical Center sometime Thursday afternoon or evening, Dan Robles, an assistant to the governor, told reporters early in the afternoon.
The governor, 47, was hurried to the Somerville hospital on Thursday morning after he complained of having trouble breathing.
Christie received a chest X-ray and EKG and everything appeared normal, Maria Comella, the governor’s communications director, told reporters at a press briefing at the hospital. She said Christie was in a hospital room with his wife, Mary Pat, and brother, Todd Christie.
Reporters were told Christie will speak to press before he leaves the hospital. "The governor is fine, he's feeling great," Comella said.
Chris Christie was hospitalized on Thursday morning after he complained of having trouble breathing.
The governor suffers from asthma, and is being treated “out of an abundance of caution,” Michael Drewniak, his press secretary, told reporters.
At 12:51 p.m., Drewniak added, "In line with someone dealing with asthma, he is being given routine tests as a precautionary measure. The governor is extremely grateful for the quality of care he is receiving this morning (today) and has nothing but praise for the world-class doctors, nurses and staff."
At that time, there was no word on whether Christie would be admitted to the hospital.While Christie undergoes medical tests, he has retained his authority as governor and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who is at the Statehouse in Trenton, has not been asked to step in. The issue of creating the position of lieutenant governor position was raised, in part, after Gov. Jon Corzine was critically injured when his state trooper-driven SUV crashed on the Garden State Parkway.
In April 2007, Gov. Jon Corzine was hospitalized at Cooper University Hospital in Camden after he sustained critical injuries when his state trooper-driven SUV crashed on the Garden State Parkway in Galloway, Atlantic County. Corzine was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.
"That was never a necessary consideration,” Drewniak told reporters. “He was never incapacitated, has been alert throughout and is in contact with senior staff from the hospital."
Maria Comella, Christie's communications director, also said the governor was having breathing problems, and that he had not suffered any heart problems. She said she did not know when the governor would be released.
This is believed to be the first time Christie has been hospitalized since taking office in January of last year. Earlier in the week, he was in Iowa meeting with the Republican governor and hosting a fund-raiser for Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). The governor was scheduled to attend a bill-signing ceremony at 10:30 a.m. in Hillsborough, but the event was canceled. He is also scheduled to take questions from listeners at 7 p.m. on Thursday on "Ask the Governor," a monthly call-in radio show on New Jersey 101.5 FM.
The two black SUVs that transport Christie are parked outside the hospital emergency entrance. Another SUV, used to transport his wife and children, is also parked there.
Christie is overweight, a matter that has made him the source of fat jokes among late night comedians, and became an issue in the 2009 gubernatorial campaign. He has said publicly that he has retained a personal trainer in an effort to lose weight.