New Jersey officials have finally named the 425 long-term care facilities where residents have been infected with COVID-19 or died from the virus.
After declining to release the list for weeks, state officials gave in on Monday, saying nursing homes were still not disclosing the extent of the outbreak as mandated by the state.
“Repeatedly we have reinforced their obligations to inform residents staff and families, however we are still hearing concerns that it’s not taking place,” State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said. “We are sharing the details.”
About three-quarters of these facilities that house the elderly and sick are reporting at least one COVID-19 case. The data are self-reported and only include residents who have fallen ill or died; it does not include any staff.
New Jersey has over 600 long-term care facilities that include 375 nursing homes, 200 assisted living facilities, 28 dementia homes, three veterans homes and developmental centers, according to the NJ Department of Health.
The latest numbers show there are nearly 11,000 COVID cases in the facilities and 1,779 residents have died—that's about 40 percent of the state's total COVID-19 death toll. By comparison, New York State had seen 3,448 deaths inside its nursing homes and adult care facilities as of Sunday, representing a quarter of all fatalities statewide.
The hardest hit is a veterans home in Paramus with 155 confirmed cases and 39 deaths.
The Andover Sub-Acute Care facilities—where the discovery of 17 bodies in a makeshift morgue last week led to a state investigation—also reported 39 deaths between its two locations.
“You’ve got a vulnerable population, a deadly virus and on top of that you got folks who aren’t doing what they need to be doing,” Governor Phil Murphy said at his daily briefing late last week. “We expect a standard of care and we will not relent on that.”
Andover will temporarily be banned from accepting new residents. The owners of the facility must hire new staff following inspections by the state and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The health department has to approve the hires.
“If we don’t accept what we’ve required from Andover, we do have authority to place individuals at Andover,” Persichilli said.
She said 21 long-term care facilities were inspected by state surveyors this weekend who looked at infection control, staffing, availability of personal protective equipment and implementation of an outbreak response plan. Those found with deficiencies must submit correction plans to the state this week, she said.
The new data provided by the state includes residents who tested positive for the virus and died, and those who weren't tested but passed away of respiratory illness.