Burlington County Times: In all, 205 residents and two nursing aides died from COVID-19 at the three homes — the vast majority during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. Menlo Park had 103 resident deaths followed by Paramus with 89 and Vineland with 13.

Documents obtained by The Record and NorthJersey.com over the course of two years revealed serious problems with infection control, staffing levels and distribution of personal protective equipment at Paramus and Menlo Park. 

Among the findings: 

  • Managers at the homes adamantly opposed allowing staff and outside vendors such as ambulance drivers to wear masks during the first month of the pandemic as COVID-19 spread like wildfire. With the help of Murphy’s office, managers were setting up a series of penalties if nurses continued to use the home’s masks without permission. This came just days before Murphy’s health commissioner ordered all nursing home staff statewide to wear masks.
  • At the Paramus home, residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 mingled in the dementia unit with others who awaited test results more than a month into the crisis.
  • Nurses’ aides didn’t know which residents had tested positive and which were waiting for results and often cared for each wearing the same gown, gloves and mask, which could have spread the virus.
  • A janitor mopped the floor of room after room at Paramus, unaware that “STOP” signs on the doors meant an infected person was inside.  https://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/story/news/2021/12/23/nj-gov-murphy-53-million-families-veterans-home-covid-victims/9005637002/

DB: New Jersey officials agreed to pay just under $53 million to the families of residents of the state’s military veterans homes who died in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

The settlement will be distributed to the families of 119 residents who lived at the Menlo Park and Paramus Veterans Memorial Homes. An administration official told NJ.com said that each family will receive approximately $445,000, with exact amounts to be determined in future arbitration proceedings.

The New Jersey Department of Health has acknowledged that nearly 200 residents at the two facilities, totaling more than one-third of the total patient population, died of COVID-19 complications in 2020.

$52,955,000, due to be paid out by July 30, will settle claims that the homes’ managers made “gross departures from the standards of nursing care and infection control,” according to one of the cases filed, including not requiring staffers to wear masks or gloves, and allowing residents being allowed to gather in common areas despite the detection of new infections.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/new-jersey-settles-families-claims-over-covid-deaths-in-veterans-homes-for-dollar529m

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