Several nursing and care homes for military veterans in New Jersey have become hotspots for the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in dozens of deaths among veterans at the facilities.
The New York Times reported Sunday that more than 120 virus-related deaths have been recorded at just two veterans’ care facilities in New Jersey: the New Jersey Veterans Home at Paramus, and the Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home. The deaths at those two facilities are just a small fraction of the high number of deaths reported in nursing homes across the state, where more than 4,800 people have died in total, more than half of the state’s total death toll.
The problem is statewide, according to data reported by the Times: More than a dozen nursing facilities in the state have reported over 30 coronavirus-related deaths.
At the Paramus facility more than 60 percent of residents have contracted the disease, while about 20 percent of the staff is sick and one employee has died. The problem in state nursing homes has prompted an investigation by the state’s attorney general, Gurbir Grewal (D), who has warned that criminal charges could result.
Family members of residents at the worst-hit care homes in the state described to the Times feeling let down by officials who they say let outbreaks get out of control before taking action.
“You have 230 patients, most of whom are sick, and you think you have time to spend on the phone with me?” one family member told the Times, referring to a phone call she received from a doctor over a billing dispute in the middle of the crisis.
“I asked them: ‘How did this get so out of control?’” the family member, Cynthia Petersen, added to the newspaper.
Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellWashington Post fact-checks Kimmel on edited Pence video: ‘Certainly a phony tale’ NY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus Analysis: Some states getting 0K per coronavirus case, New York getting K MORE (D-N.J.), who himself is a family member of a resident of the Paramus facility, told the Times that the situation was an “urgent message” to legislators.
“This is not only a tragedy,” he told the Times. “This is an urgent message to all of us. These veterans fought on the field for this country.”