Especially for TAPintoSPF. This story was written and produced by NJ Spotlight. This is being re-published under the NJ News Commons content sharing agreement specifically related to COVID-19 coverage. To read more, visit njspotlight.com.
Two of the three veterans’ homes in New Jersey experienced an increase in the number of infections and deaths due to the corona virus when COVID-19 spread through a very vulnerable population despite efforts by health care workers to quarantine the affected population.
The worst affected were the Paramus home where 39 residents had died from the virus on Sunday afternoon; 110 have been confirmed positive, and 10 are hospitalized out of a total population of 249, according to the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Deaths and infections continue to increase at the Paramus site. 27 deaths and 78 positive cases were reported on April 14.
At the Menlo Park home, 25 residents had died on Sunday while 52 out of a total population of 237 had been confirmed positive, and 26 people were hospitalized. That compared with 17 deaths and 34 cases reported on April 14.
Another veterans home in Vineland where 283 veterans live reported one confirmed case but no deaths in the latest update.
All long-term care facilities have reported 10,163 cases and 1,655 deaths so far, among a total of 4,070 deaths in the entire state, according to state Health Department data.
The number of infections among staff at the homes of veterans also increased. In Paramus, the number of positive cases rose to 45 on Sunday, up from 25 four days before; in Menlo Park, the last total infection for staff was 31, up from 14 in the same period. No staff deaths were reported in any of the three veterans’ homes.
United States Representative Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat whose 5th Congress District includes Paramus, said three-quarters of New Jersey’s long-term care facilities, including veterinary homes, had been infected. He said in an interview with NJTV News last week that he had asked federal investigation into conditions at home after death from COVID-19 surged at the Paramus location, and he said better salaries and more medical staff might leave homes to prevent the spread of the disease rather than fighting to contain it.
“It’s too late to start wearing protective masks after the outbreak,” he said. “Some of our nursing homes are acting fast, and we will find out after that which are not.”
Gottheimer also asked veterinarian houses to do a better job of communicating with families about the health of the population during the pandemic. “We really need to make sure people communicate every day. Families are afraid because they cannot visit, and residents are afraid, “he said.
Criticism also came from AARP, which accused the management of homes and other long-term care facilities of failing to communicate well with residents’ families, and called on the Murphy government to provide more assistance to the houses.
The New Jersey branch of the national advocacy organization for elderly citizens says staff left in the country’s long-term care facility have been “overwhelmed” by the virus, and that some families “remain in the dark” about the care received by their loved ones. .
Families need contact
The AARP urges DOH to ensure that all nursing homes have contact points that will keep families updated about infection, death and staffing levels. They demanded detailed government proposals to move patients infected with COVID-19 from care homes to separate facilities. And it asks for assurance that New Jersey’s long-term care home will have adequate staff.
“With the crisis continuing to worsen, we cannot wait to illuminate the situation faced by our residents and care facility staff,” AARP said in a statement.
Kryn Westhoven, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said around 80 New Jersey National Guard members had been called in to help at the Paramus home, and around 50 in Menlo Park, because of the number of staff who had been infected. Members of the National Guard usually help with non-medical tasks such as distributing food to residents or walking around the house, he said.
The New Jersey National Guard, with around 8,400 members, was personally hit by COVID-19, reporting 52 confirmed infections and one death on April 18.
If the veterinarian’s house shows symptoms of the disease, they are tested and quarantined, and his family is notified, Westhoven said. If they continue to show symptoms such as a fever that cannot be controlled by the house staff, residents will be sent to the hospital, he said.
Addressing AARP concerns about staff shortages, Westhoven said DOH had created an internet portal to encourage people who had left health care to return to help overcome the pandemic, and that there was discussion of nurses from the federal Veterans Administration who would come to help New homes Jersey.
On communication, Westhoven said veterinarian houses have computers that residents can use to communicate with their families via Skype or Zoom, and some have phones that they can use to talk to their loved ones through FaceTime. Although no visits were allowed during the pandemic, some residents have been able to see their families outside their windows, he said.
To view this article in its original format with pictures, visit https://www.njspotlight.com/2020/04/deaths-and-infections-for-residents-staff-continue-to-rise-at-two-veterans-home.
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