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Senator Joe Pennacchio Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26)
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Contact: Amie Grasso / (973) 227-4012
May 8, 2020
Pennacchio: State Imposed ‘No Test Order’ for Admission to Nursing Homes

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New Jersey Highest in Nation in COVID Deaths at Long-Term Care Facilities

Senator Joe Pennacchio has obtained a letter sent by the New Jersey Department of Health 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.

A letter from the state health department dated March 31, obtained by Sen. Joe Pennacchio, prohibited long-term care facilities from requiring COVID-19 testing for incoming residents. (Flickr)

The letter (copy attached) also states “post-acute care facilities are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized patient/resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.

“New Jersey has continually cited testing as a way to identify and respond to COVID-19.  Therefore, it doesn’t make sense that we would specifically not want to test patients who would enter isolated nursing homes containing our most vulnerable population,” said Pennacchio (R-Morris, Essex, Passaic).

Senator Pennacchio criticized the administration for taking extra care of prisoners before they became Covid-infected by releasing them from prisons yet forcing nursing facilities to accept patients with Covid, then locking the doors.

The Senator pointed to initial warnings that the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. started with an outbreak and multiple deaths in a Washington State nursing facility.

“Applying science and reason, one would surmise that releasing a highly contagious pathogen in an isolated and vulnerable location, like a nursing home, could have devastating effects, and it did,” added Pennacchio.

The Department of Health cites Executive Order No. 103 signed by Governor Murphy on March 3.  New Jersey is the number one state in the union with 50% of its COVID-19 deaths occurring in long term nursing facilities.

“The State of New Jersey has direct regulatory oversight over these nursing facilities.  Although the population of nursing homes makes up less than 0.7% of the Garden State’s population, the 4,151 deaths in these facilities accounts for half of all New Jersey’s COVID-19 deaths,” concluded Senator Pennacchio.

Related Tweet:
https://twitter.com/joepennacchio/status/1258774206197780483

Website Post:
https://www.senatenj.com/index.php/pennacchio/pennacchio-state-had-no-test-order-for-admission-to-nursing-homes/48024