National Guardsmen arrive at NJ long-term care facilities amid staff shortages
Dozens of members of the New Jersey National Guard are being deployed across the state to help at long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nine members of the National Guard arrived at Meadowview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northfield on Monday morning to assist.
"We've had several staff members that have tested positive for COVID. With that, they're out for five to seven to 10 days - sometimes longer depending on symptoms. About two weeks ago, it hit it pretty hard, so we lost a good amount of staff members,” says Michelle Savage Knudsen, nursing home administrator.
The Murphy administration says approximately 150 members of the New Jersey National Guard will be deployed to a dozen long-term care facilities to help with staffing.
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"One of the great things about being in the National Guard is that you're very flexible, so you're used to getting random calls and going on the go,” says Spc. Tyler Weber.
The service members will be helping with a wide variety of things at the facilities.
"They're going to help with the residents, with transport, transferring in and out of wheelchairs and in and out of bed. They're going to help with meal preparation, help the residents that can't really open up their food, giving them the utensils. They're going to help with bathing and showering and baths, really again taking care of the needs that are very basic to you and I,” says Knudsen.
The facility says that not only are they short-staffed because of employees testing positive for the virus, but also because of staff vacancies yet to be filled. They say the assistance of the National Guard is much-needed help.
"We're just here to help out the most vulnerable community out there with a surge of COVID. We just came to do our job, it’s what were here to do,” says Pfc. Dylan Ligameri.
Meadowview says the National Guard will be there for at least the next week but that time could be extended longer.