Concerns Grow Over Nursing Home Conditions In New Jersey Amid Crisis

Kevin Rincon
April 01, 2020 - 7:55 pm

TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) — There’s growing concern in New Jersey during the coronavirus outbreak over conditions at nursing homes.

Almost one in four nursing homes in New Jersey has reported at least one confirmed case of coronavirus and a good percentage of those who have died in the state were residents at long-term care facilities.

“Twenty one percent are associated with long-term care facilities,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.

Gov. Phil Murphy has mandated all employees at nursing homes war protective gear, but it’s easier said than done.

“One of the key issues here is that there's a lack of personal protective equipment and that includes everything from masks but also gowns and gloves,” says Milly Silva.

Silva, the head of the New Jersey nursing workers union – 1199SEIU – says they are not getting equipment that they desperately need.

“It was really disheartening when there are aides who are talking about how they are now wearing trash bags as gowns. I've also heard reports of some places where people are being creative and they're using rain ponchos as well as part of their protective equipment,” she said.

On Wednesday, there were reports of Yankees ponchos being given to doctors and nurses in New York City amid a shortage in protective gear.

As conditions worsen, residents at one New Jersey nursing home even had to be moved to other facilities after a cluster of coronavirus cases formed at their facility.

Silva is urging the federal government to step in before things become worse.