(TRENTON) – The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) would be required to continuously publish on its website the total number of COVID-19 deaths and cases in long-term care facilities under legislation approved Thursday by the full Assembly, 72-0.
Under the measure (A-4861), the DOH website would display data on the total number of COVID-19 deaths and cases among employees and residents in long-term care in the state since the beginning of the pandemic through the most recent date for which the data are available. The reported data would include both statewide numbers and numbers specific to each long-term care facility, to the extent these numbers can be reported without violating State or federal health privacy rules.
The bill would take effect immediately and expire one year after the end of both the current state of emergency and the public health emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sponsors of the bill, Assembly Democrats Valerie Vaineri Huttle (D-Bergen), John Armato (D-Atlantic) and Anthony Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) released the following joint statement:
“Over one year after the coronavirus upended life as we knew it across our state, our days continue to be filled with so much uncertainty. This is especially true for residents of long-term care facilities, who have a higher risk of experiencing severe illness, requiring hospitalization and, sadly, dying from COVID-19.
“This bill increases transparency by providing an easily accessible outlet for the public to see the most current data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in long-term care centers in our state.
“Having this information available will help those with loved ones in long-term care evaluate emerging health concerns and allow health officials and legislators to rapidly respond to facilities facing emergencies. With the end of the pandemic on the horizon, we must continue to do all we can to save lives.”