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“It’s scary for everybody — for the residents and for the staff,” Mr. Gottheimer said. “What is surprising to me is how many are dying in house, versus the hospital.”
The nursing home has told local health officials that they are housing sick patients on separate wings or floors, Chief Danielson said. And local residents have been gathering supplies to donate to the nursing home.
The women said the facility offered no way for them to communicate with their mother, who had dementia, and provided family members no information. Their mother was never tested for the coronavirus.
“Her death was inevitable,” said one daughter, Lee Repasch. “But she was a vulnerable woman with dementia. It was inevitable, but it didn’t need to be like this.”
Most of the state’s nursing homes have reported at least one case of the coronavirus, which as of Wednesday had infected 6,815 patients of long-term care facilities in New Jersey. At least 45 of the 351 coronavirus-related deaths announced on Wednesday were residents of long-term care facilities.
Gov. Philip D. Murphy said that once the threat of the pandemic passes, New Jersey must take a hard look at what went wrong.
“It’s pretty clear that a big weakness in the system, and in reality, is long-term care facilities,” he said.
Thirteen of the bodies discovered on Monday at the Andover facility were moved to a refrigerated truck outside a hospital in nearby Newton, Chief Danielson said. A funeral home had made arrangements to pick up the other four.