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Downey Statement on Committee Hearing on COVID-19 Response in Facilities Serving Residents with Disabilities

 (TRENTON) – Following today’s meeting of the Assembly Human Services Committee to evaluate the challenges faced by developmental centers, group homes and community-based residential settings serving individuals with disabilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, committee chair, Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), released the following statement:
          “We all have needed to make changes in our day-to-day lives to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19. We’ve all felt the disruption, the frustration, the disappointment and the fear. For someone with disabilities, this upheaval of daily life has been especially challenging.
          “Many people with disabilities struggle with standard COVID-19 precautions like wearing face masks or social distancing. They may have difficulty understanding the changes in their routine or why their family may be unable to visit. And unfortunately, they may be more at risk of contracting the virus if they live in a congregate care facility. We’ve seen COVID-19 spread at an alarming rate in New Jersey’s developmental centers and congregate care facilities, and we cannot see this happen again.
          “This pandemic will be our reality for the foreseeable future. We must ensure the providers that care for the most vulnerable among us are prepared to protect them through this crisis. I appreciate all of the speakers who came before the committee today to provide insight on how we can protect the health and safety of our residents with disabilities.”