NJ Department of Health Response Seemed Lost
New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio has obtained copies of both New Jersey and New York memoranda to long-term nursing facilities in their states. Both correspondences admonish the facilities to take in infected COVID-19 patients. New Jersey went so far as to prohibit even the testing of patients for COVID-19 entering long-term nursing facilities.
“New Jersey’s letter to these facilities was dated March 31, 2020, while New York’s was almost one week prior on March 25, 2020. Seems to me that New Jersey was taking directions from New York on its handling of COVID-19 patients in nursing homes,” said Pennacchio.
The Senator produced letters from both states directed at hospitals and nursing homes as to what their discharge and acceptance policy should be toward these elderly vulnerable patients. The letters were highlighted by the Senator to show where the exact New York verbiage was used by the New Jersey State Department of Health in those directions.
“New Jersey did not even have the courtesy and forethought to write their own letter. At a time when over 50% of New Jersey’s COVID-19 deaths occurred in long-term nursing facilities, the thoughtless effort into the formation of this correspondence seems callous and insensitive,” said Pennacchio.
While long-term nursing home patients make up only 0.67% of New Jersey’s 9 million citizen population they have accounted for over 50% of COVID-19 deaths, the Senator has called for an immediate Senate Select Oversight Committee to investigate how the New Jersey Department of Health policy affected the spread of the COVID-19 virus among the nursing homes population.