Similar to New York, New Jersey also allowed COVID-19 patients to re-enter nursing homes last March despite being warned that “patients would die.” Infected patients were not properly distanced from health residents and the virus was almost certain to migrate since there’s only one group of staff members treating all residents.
There have been nearly 8,000 COVID-19 related deaths in New Jersey nursing homes, making up 40% of the state’s total death count and among one of the top states, along with New York, reaching high numbers in nursing home deaths.
In a recently obtained recording of a phone call between New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and hundreds of long-term facility operators, many raised concerns over Gov. Phil Murphy’s orders to allow these patients back into the facilities.
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“Patients will die. You understand that by asking us to take COVID patients, by demanding we take COVID patients, that patients will die in nursing homes that wouldn’t have otherwise died had we screened them out,” said a nursing home administrator.
While Murphy’s administration suggested “separate wings or units” for isolation, administrators told Persichilli that the problem is not with separation, but with the staff on duty. GOP lawmakers are now leading an investigation against Murphy and his administration after administrators were transparent and clear that they could not separate patients and staff properly.
State Sen. Joe Pennacchio, one of the leading GOP members investigating the governor, suggested that the situation could have been averted and patients could’ve been kept in the hospitals since capacity rates in New Jersey were “increasing” but never reached a tipping point.
A candidate for New Jersey governor, Republican Jack Ciattarelli, also launched a campaign ad against Murphy and his administration for the thousands of seniors who died in nursing homes since the COVID-19 outbreak. He talked about the shocking conversations that took place between the administration and nursing home operators, adding that the state needs answers and their families deserve justice.
Michigan GOP lawmakers have also called on the investigation of Gretchen Whitmer, another governor who placed COVID-19 positive patients in nursing homes. The health department has also refused to release any COVID-19 nursing home data, even with increasing death tolls in those facilities.
Sen. Jim Runestad called on Attorney General Dana Nessel to investigate Whitmer and her administration but she has rejected their request. “We need to know how this happened and why it was allowed to happen; we need to figure out why the data doesn’t add up. Grieving families are tired of the stonewalling. We need an investigation now because families deserve answers,” Runestad said.
Robert Gordon, the former director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, also abruptly resigned in January and received a payout of more than $155,000 in exchange for “releasing all claims against” the state. The agreement states that he will also receive nine months of pay and health care costs. Gordon has declined to comment on the situation and Whitmer’s administration did not give details on the departure. Gov. Whitmer did not even comment on why he was leaving or thank him for his service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Too many nursing home residents and their families have been affected by controversial policies by radical left governors. Republicans are demanding answers and Democrats are just trying to keep quiet about their response to the pandemic.