Gottheimer Continues to Sound the Alarm on Dozens of North Jersey Long-Term Care Facilities in Need of Help to Fight COVID-19

f t # e
NEWTON, NJ, April 17, 2020 | comments

Gottheimer Continues to Sound the Alarm on Dozens of North Jersey Long-Term Care Facilities in Need of Help to Fight COVID-19

Requests PPE, Personnel, Federal, State Assistance

Asks FEMA for National Guard and Reserves to Help Facilities in Crisis

45 long-term care facilities in New Jersey’s Fifth District need supplies, additional personnel to contain COVID-19 outbreaks

On April 17, 2020, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) requested continued coordination, action, and resources from the State of New Jersey, FEMA, and the federal government to address COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities in North Jersey and to protect facilities’ residents and staff.

Gottheimer has been in regular touch with New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) Commissioner Judith Persichilli. In response to the issues at the Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center, Gottheimer urged NJDOH to assist dozens of other long-term care facilities facing critical shortages in the Fifth District. 

Gottheimer has also asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deploy National Guard and Reserves to assist, and he requested that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deploy U.S. Public Health Service front-line health care workers.

“I have heard from forty-five long-term care facilities in Sussex, Warren, Bergen, and Passaic Counties that they are in critical need of these supplies, additional personnel, and other assistance as they work to contain the outbreaks of COVID-19 in their facilities. I have communicated with your staff about the specific locations and their PPE and staffing needs,” wrote Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) in a letter today to NJDOH Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “It is a huge relief that the residents and staff at Andover will start to get the assistance that is so desperately needed there. I have also asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deploy National Guard and Reserves to assist and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide additional support in the form of PPE and staffing from the U.S. Public Health Service.”

Gottheimer continued, “We will not beat this virus and flatten the curve if COVID-19 is able to continue to spread like wildfire in these long-term care facilities. Moreover, it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that the most vulnerable among us are adequately protected from contracting the virus.”

Gottheimer noted that he has received urgent requests from these North Jersey facilities for needs across the board, including front-line health care staffing, gowns, goggles, gloves, face shields, N95 face masks, thermometer covers, and disinfectant supplies. 

Regarding the issues at the Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center, Gottheimer highlighted the ongoing coordination since Saturday, April 11, 2020, between Governor Phil Murphy, NJDOH, county officials, and himself, to get additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect residents and staff at the facility. The NJDOH’s Communicable Disease Service, in coordination with the Sussex County Department of Health, has deployed a team to assist Andover facility’s residents and staff and to enforce necessary protocols and safety measures. The federal government has also deployed a team of surveyors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure the health and safety of residents at the facility. 

On April 15, 2020, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) led a bipartisan group of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation to request that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deploy U.S. Public Health Service front-line health care workers to assist with critical staffing needs at long-term care facilities in New Jersey to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and to provide additional PPE resources from the Strategic National Stockpile for front-line workers in these long-term care facility settings

A copy of the letter is available HERE, the text of which is provided below.

Judith M. Persichilli, R.N., B.S.N., M.A.
Commissioner
Department of Health
State of New Jersey
P.O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ

Dear Commissioner Persichilli: 

As you are aware, there has been a tragic outbreak of COVID-19 at the Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center in Andover, NJ. I have been loudly beating the drum to get additional resources to Andover to help stabilize the outbreak there and better protect residents and front-line health care workers. I am glad that we have been working together, along with Governor Murphy and county and state officials, since Saturday, to get additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect residents and staff at the facility. 

I am grateful that you, under the leadership of Governor Murphy, have directed the New Jersey Department of Health’s Communicable Disease Service, in coordination with the Sussex County Department of Health, to deploy a team to assist the residents and staff at Andover and to enforce necessary protocols and safety measures. It is a huge relief that the residents and staff at Andover will start to get the assistance that is so desperately needed there. I have also asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deploy National Guard and Reserves to assist and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide additional support in the form of PPE and staffing from the U.S. Public Health Service.  

In addition to the efforts made to assist Andover, I also urge your Department to please also assist dozens of other long-term care facilities facing critical shortages in the Fifth District. My office has received urgent requests from these facilities for needs across the board, including: front-line health care staffing, gowns, goggles, gloves, face shields, N95 face masks, thermometer covers, and disinfectant supplies. 

I have heard from forty-five long-term care facilities in Sussex, Warren, Bergen, and Passaic Counties that they are in critical need of these supplies, additional personnel, and other assistance as they work to contain the outbreaks of COVID-19 in their facilities. I have communicated with your staff about the specific locations and their PPE and staffing needs. We will not beat this virus and flatten the curve if COVID-19 is able to continue to spread like wildfire in these long-term care facilities. Moreover, it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that the most vulnerable among us are adequately protected from contracting the virus. 

Thank you for your service and leadership during this extraordinarily difficult time. I stand ready to assist you as additional resources are deployed to these facilities. 

Sincerely,

Josh Gottheimer
MEMBER OF CONGRESS

###

f t # e