Assemblyman Kevin Rooney urged Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to force long-term care facilities to abide by a directive issued last week that requires they inform staff, residents and their families about COVID-19 outbreaks in their facilities.
“It is heartbreaking to see loved ones in despair because the facilities are not answering the phone lines or communicating on how their family member is currently doing,” Rooney said. “The lack of transparency at many of these facilities has to be fixed immediately to protect the staff, the residents and their family who are suffering in silence.”
Residents or staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at 262 of the state’s 350 long-term care facilities as of Thursday afternoon.
The outbreaks there are particularly troubling for health officials, as the elderly are more likely to develop severe symptoms when infected with the novel coronavirus.
Residents in long-term care facilities accounted for 20 of the 198 COVID-related deaths state officials announced Thursday.
“Clear communication is critical right now. These are life and death situations. Nearly half of those who died are 80 or older,” Rooney said.