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Ciattarelli video attacks Murphy over nursing home directive

By Nikita Biryukov, March 25 2021 9:46 am

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli launched a new campaign video attacking Gov. Phil Murphy over a March 2020 Department of Health directive that required long-term care centers to readmit residents who tested positive for COVID-19.

The 74-second video features portions of a recorded call between Deputy Commissioner of Health Marcela Ospina-Maziarz and nursing home operators during which the administration official is warned the directive will cause deaths among long-term care residents.

Script:

Murphy’s Deputy Commissioner for Health Systems: “Thank you, this is Marcela Ospina-Maziarz, I’m the Deputy Commissioner for Health Systems”

Operator: “Thank you very much, I have a brief question and that is…you’ve asked us to take in COVID-19 patients…”

Narrator: At the height of the pandemic, Governor Murphy used his power to force nursing homes to admit COVID positive patients despite CDC guidelines.

Murphy’s Deputy Commissioner for Health Systems: “…there really isn’t any immediate jeopardy. We know that this is a very difficult infection to control, this is why we’ve put out guidance… on how to do it appropriately…”

Operator: “Yes, but patients will die. You understand that by asking us to take COVID patients… that patients will die in nursing homes that wouldn’t have otherwise died…”

Narrator: Governor Murphy was warned. He sent COVID-positive patients to nursing homes anyway. Now, more than 8,000 seniors and veterans are dead…

…and Governor Murphy still doesn’t have an answer.

The order has been a favorite target of Republicans for months. They charge the directive, enacted to free up hospital resources amid the first wave of cases, which threatened to overrun the state’s healthcare systems, was responsible for the state’s nearly 8,000 deaths in nursing homes and similar facilities.

The order required facilities separate COVID-positive patients from the rest of the population.

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