In an effort to learn more about how to improve New Jersey’s infectious disease outbreak prevention and response efforts in the State’s veterans homes and long-term care facilities, the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs (AMV) Committee and the Aging and Senior Services Committee held a joint hearing Tuesday. After receiving testimony from experts on the matter, AMV Chair Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex) released the following statement:
“The heartbreaking loss of thousands of people in our veterans homes and long-term care facilities during this unprecedented pandemic has revealed vulnerabilities in our system that absolutely need to be addressed.
“Finding ways to limit the spread of dangerous viruses between staff, visitors and residents; ensuring adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE); and implementing disinfection protocols are just some of the ways we can save lives in the event of a second wave of COVID-19 or other future outbreaks.
“It is our state’s responsibility to learn from this tragedy and provide protection for both nursing home residents and their caretakers. The elderly New Jerseyans living in our veterans homes and long-term care facilities rely on us to ensure their safety and well-being.
“My heart goes out to each and every family who has lost a loved one during this pandemic, including the many veterans who once risked their lives fighting for this country. We must and will do everything we can to prevent further loss of life going forward.
“I want to thank the various experts who provided their testimony during today’s hearing. Our committees will take your recommendations very seriously as we work to implement critical changes that will help keep the vulnerable people in our care safe.”