Lawmakers consider 11 bills designed to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a package of 11 bills designed to prevent further COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the state.

News 12 Staff

Aug 13, 2020, 11:37 PM

Updated 1,383 days ago

Share:

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a package of 11 bills designed to prevent further COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the state.
A reported 6,690 residents of these facilities have died from the virus as of Thursday, according to state health officials.
The bills seek new requirements, greater penalties, higher wages and paid sick leave for workers.
“Our communities are permanent homes for our residents, and we need to own responsibility for committing the necessary funds to support their health and well-being,” says LeadingAge New Jersey & Delaware CEO Jim McCracken.
“The fact that they’re increasing direct care staff salaries is absolutely huge, because any advocate will tell you that the top three problems in long-term care are staffing, staffing and staffing” says New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman Laurie Brewer.
Brewer says that many of the workers have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. She says that higher wages could help stop the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.
“People who have good health benefits, who have sick time, who have a decent living wage will stick with that one job instead of multiple per diem jobs, for instance. So, that is the theory, I tend to agree with it,” she says.
Critics of Gov. Phil Murphy say that the New Jersey Health Department order that nursing homes had to allow non-critical COVID-positive patents back to their homes also assisted with the spread of the virus at nursing homes. 
Photos: Your Coronavirus Pandemic Experience
undefined

“We didn't have any cases that people came to us and said that had happened and that had been a significant factor actually,” says Brewer.
Requests for investigations by Brewer's office are down from the peak of the pandemic but are still up by 40% from last year. Brewer says that the office is bracing for a flood of more when the homes reopen for family visitations.
“I do think that when families get in there they may see things that they think are concerning and so we may get even more calls,” she says.
Brewer said the Legislature should go a step further and set minimum staffing levels for long-term care workers.


More from News 12
2:40
Menendez bribery trial: ‘Missing’ juror causes delay; prosecution to focus on woman still 'friendly' with co-defendants

Menendez bribery trial: ‘Missing’ juror causes delay; prosecution to focus on woman still 'friendly' with co-defendants

2:14
Sunny today with highs near 80 in New Jersey; tracking spotty showers on Wednesday

Sunny today with highs near 80 in New Jersey; tracking spotty showers on Wednesday

2:09
Chaotic Memorial Day weekend at the Jersey Shore leads to stabbing, curfew

Chaotic Memorial Day weekend at the Jersey Shore leads to stabbing, curfew

0:14
Fire chief: No injuries in Plainfield house fire

Fire chief: No injuries in Plainfield house fire

1:25
Friday's preholiday travel breaks the record for the most airline travelers screened at US airports

Friday's preholiday travel breaks the record for the most airline travelers screened at US airports

0:52
Tips to stay healthy while traveling this summer

Tips to stay healthy while traveling this summer

0:39
New Jersey Turnpike Authority proposes modernizing 8 miles of road from Newark to Jersey City

New Jersey Turnpike Authority proposes modernizing 8 miles of road from Newark to Jersey City

0:22
Police: Missing Neptune Township teen found safe

Police: Missing Neptune Township teen found safe

1:12
Best of New Jersey: Grabbing a bite at Labebe Prime in North Brunswick Township

Best of New Jersey: Grabbing a bite at Labebe Prime in North Brunswick Township

0:22
Police: 19-year-old killed in crash on Route 30 in Atlantic City

Police: 19-year-old killed in crash on Route 30 in Atlantic City

0:28
Wayne Golf professional lays 100 straight holes of golf to raise money for veterans

Wayne Golf professional lays 100 straight holes of golf to raise money for veterans

0:26
Protest planned at Teterboro Airport to oppose geese gassing plans

Protest planned at Teterboro Airport to oppose geese gassing plans

0:26
Paterson’s restaurant week to celebrate city's diverse culinary scene

Paterson’s restaurant week to celebrate city's diverse culinary scene

Is your dad awesome? New Jersey tell us why your dad rocks!

Is your dad awesome? New Jersey tell us why your dad rocks!

0:54
Seaside Heights implements curfew following incident of overcrowded boardwalk

Seaside Heights implements curfew following incident of overcrowded boardwalk

1:11
Traveling Tribute Vietnam Wall now on display in East Brunswick

Traveling Tribute Vietnam Wall now on display in East Brunswick

0:14
Video shows 2-car crash at Pine Beach intersection; no injuries

Video shows 2-car crash at Pine Beach intersection; no injuries

2:01
Last-minute beachgoers in Seaside Heights brave the rainy, gloomy weather

Last-minute beachgoers in Seaside Heights brave the rainy, gloomy weather

2:23
Kearny launches banner program to remember, honor local war heroes for Memorial Day

Kearny launches banner program to remember, honor local war heroes for Memorial Day

2:09
Kane In Your Corner: What to do if you’ve been a victim of identity theft

Kane In Your Corner: What to do if you’ve been a victim of identity theft