Listen to audio version of this article
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-39), a member of the Assembly Health Committee, said the feds need to provide New Jersey with more test kits for the coronavirus and oversee better turn around time by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for testing.
The Republican lawmaker from Bergen County said she is hearing from her constituents on those critical fronts and is deeply concerned.
“I spoke with someone who had symptoms consistent with a milder case, who was advised by their doctor not to get tested and to stay at home.”
Schepisi said that’s not good enough.
“We have no idea about the magnitude of community spread,” the lawmaker told InsiderNJ. “We were way too slow with responding to this crisis.”
Schepisi said she intends to be proactive in several other key areas.
First, she wants to examine ways in which the state can assist frontline healthcare providers who are not only getting inundated but stand to get infected at higher rates than others.
“If we lose our healthcare providers, who’s there to provide the care?” Shepisi asked.
Second, she said the state needs to quickly develop emergency plans for senior citizens shut out of senior care facilities closed during the pandemic.
“We need to ensure that seniors have the meals they depend on every day, and ways to deliver these meals,” Schepisi said. “Meals on Wheels will be overwhelmed.”
Third, “If we do start closing schools we have to come up with emergency plans for children who depend on school lunch programs.”
If those students stay home, the state must ensure they have access to food.
“Those are the children of families who are impoverished to begin with,” said the assemblywoman.