Senator Pennaccchio: These Numbers are Horrifying
While the state slowly emerges from the grasp of the coronavirus, death tolls, especially in long-term care facilities, continue to rise.
Senator Pennacchio said a report by Forbes that one in 10 New Jersey nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 supports the need for an immediate investigation into the state’s pandemic response. (Pixabay)
“Nursing home residents are paying dearly for actions taken by the Administration,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio. “New data indicates that since the outbreak, one in 10 residents of senior care facilities have died from COVID-19. The real number may actually be higher, much higher because statistics don’t include long-term patients who died after being transferred to hospitals. Also not included in the numbers are staff members who perished while taking care of residents in these facilities. The health department’s recording practices obscure the loss of life among our seniors, but cannot erase the reality.”
Statewide, almost 12,000 people have died, and long-term care patients may account for as many as 6,000.
Pennacchio said he is hopeful “an immediate real-time investigation by a Senate select committee will provide some answers for the grieving families of the victims.”
Forbes reported that New Jersey was one of three states that “ordered nursing homes to accept patients with active COVID-19 infections who were being discharged from hospitals.”
The problem was acerbated here when the Administration forbid facilities from testing patients for the virus.
“It was a recipe for disaster,” said Pennacchio. “These mistakes sealed the fate of thousands of vulnerable senior citizens who were literally trapped alone in homes where COVID was spreading like wildfire. In an apparent attempt to save bed space in hospital ICU units, nursing homes residents were sacrificed.”
Last week, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean announced the Senate would launch a “Review and Recovery” committee to investigate the COVID crisis and identify immediate and long-term remedies to the social, governmental and financial problems caused by the pandemic.
Senator Pennacchio has urged the Senate, which is expected to vote on the measure in June, to grant the special committee subpoena powers to summons witnesses and documents.