75 National Guardsmen deployed to 2 NJ veterans’ homes to help deal with COVID-19 outbreak

The New Jersey National Guard has deployed 75 guardsmen to two state-run veterans nursing homes after at least 10 people have died from COVID-19.

News 12 Staff

Apr 10, 2020, 3:07 AM

Updated 1,467 days ago

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The New Jersey National Guard has deployed 75 guardsmen to two state-run veterans nursing homes after at least 10 people have died from COVID-19.
The family of one of the veterans still living at one of the nursing homes in Paramus is demanding answers about what is being done to protect residents.
World War II veteran Kenneth Roth spent his 97th birthday in March away from his family probably for the first time since serving in the war. He has been living at the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home for the past two years. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, he was not allowed to have visitors.
“We have gotten a response, but usually just very quick answers. They’re just telling us everything’s OK, everything’s going smooth,” says Roth’s grandson Lou Amendola.
Amendola says that those email updates from the home aren’t enough since 10 residents from the home have died from the virus. Twenty-three others have tested positive, along with 17 staffers. Forty guardsmen have been sent to Paramus and 35 sent to the Menlo Park Home to help level out staffing.
“It could be increased help, but at the same time, it’s more people coming in from the outside, so I really hope they’re taking all the proper steps into keeping themselves masked,” Amendola says.
A spokesperson from the State Department of Military and Veteran’s Affairs says in a statement, “We ensure in all of our homes that PPE is issued in strict accordance with CDC guidelines in order to protect our staff and residents, as well as efficiently manage the stocks in our homes.”
The guardsmen are not serving as nurses, but are trained similarly to EMTs.
Amendola says that his calls and messages to the home still have not been returned.
“We need to hear what’s going on before we hear it on the media,” he says. “It just makes things 10 times worse. We’re dealing with a lot of heightened anxiety, unknowns,” he says.
State officials say that 47 residents and 20 staffers are still waiting for their COVID-19 test results.


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