Advocates call for shutdown of nursing home with numerous COVID-19 deaths

A group of advocates is calling for a Union County nursing home to be shut down after numerous residents have died from COVID-19.
Some gathered outside, while others held a virtual protest to demand answers from Elizabeth Nursing and Rehab Center officials. The rally called for the facility to be shut down and for the patients to be transferred elsewhere.
“We are asking Mayor [Chris] Bollwage today to please – we are begging him to please, intercede on behalf of the residents. To ask Gov. [Phil] Murphy to close this place down and to evacuate these residents to get them out of harm’s way,” says activist Carlos Trujillo.
News 12 New Jersey has previously reported about this facility and the situation inside. Ambulances have been seen taking residents to hospitals. A laundry worker at the facility, who did not wish to be identified for fear of losing her job, described what was happening inside.
“They don’t have enough people to take care of the patients,” the worker says. “Nurses got sick, got COVID-19. It’s crazy. We need help.”
The city reports that 29 people at the facility have died since March 22. Because not every patient has been tested, it is unclear how many of the deaths have been related to the virus. But it believed that most are related to COVID-19.
Families with loved ones inside the nursing home say that the situation is heartbreaking. Advocates say that the state needs to step in.
“We know it's statewide, but there aren’t any [nursing homes] in the state that have 29 deaths. We know we have a serious situation. The staff is telling us, the families are telling us,” Trujillo says.
Mayor Bollwage says that the facility has been ordered to not accept any new patients. He says that he has spoken with Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and was told that nursing homes should separate patients into different wings if available.
Multiple calls to the Elizabeth Nursing and Rehab Center have not been returned. Murphy’s office told News 12 that it has no comment on the situation.