New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: What if Democrat Leadership Had Worked This Hard to Keep COVID Out of Nursing Homes?

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As Democrats in Trenton defend rigid COVID rules at the State House that could block some elected officials from participating in Thursday’s voting sessions, Senator Joe Pennacchio questioned why the same rigor wasn’t used to protect senior residents in nursing facilities from the virus.

As Democrats in Trenton defend rigid COVID rules at the State House that could block some elected officials from entering the building, Sen. Joe Pennacchio questioned why the same rigor wasn’t used to protect senior residents in nursing facilities from the virus. (Pixabay)

“The hypocrisy is obvious,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “The Democrats are so concerned about stopping COVID at the door of the capitol. Where was that same urgency when the Governor’s Administration was forcing the virus into nursing homes at great cost and loss of life?”

Nearly 10,000 vulnerable New Jersey seniors died in long-term care homes during the pandemic, and in May 2020, Pennacchio obtained a New Jersey Department of Health letter dated March 31 directing hospitals and nursing care facilities not to inhibit transfer of hospital patients with COVID-19 entering post-acute care settings such as long-term nursing and rehabilitations facilities, and specifically denying testing of patients entering nursing homes.

In the same month, Pennacchio introduced legislation calling for a legislative investigation into the State’s response to the COVID pandemic, seeking the formation of a Senate Select Committee with subpoena power.

“The Administration forced nursing homes to accept patients and prohibited them from testing for the virus. Rather than planning to stop legislators at the entrance to the State House, the Democrat majority should be supporting an inquiry into the ill-fated decisions that placed our most fragile residents in danger, resulting in thousands of deaths,” Pennacchio said. “They are playing political games. Politics has been compounding the pandemic’s impact all along.”

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