OCEAN COUNTY, NJ - When Governor Phil Murphy holds his daily press briefing on COVID-19, he and others provide a great deal of statistical data. Meanwhile, the Jersey governor is quick to point out that numbers represent people. The coronavirus crisis has hit nursing homes and rehabilitation centers hard and the state tracks their numbers separately.
"There are 497 long-term care facilities in the state now that are reporting COVID-19 cases, for a total of 18,533 COVID-19 cases in these facilities," announced Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli yesterday. "..Infection control surveys are looking at staffing, availability of PPE, and the capacity of the organization to cohort their residents."
The problem is real. Just two weeks ago, Murphy expressed his outrage that bodies were piled up at an Andover nursing home in the northern part of the state.
Ocean County has its share of long term facilities and of the 6,373 confirmed coronavirus cases, 1332 of them reportedly came from nursing homes or rehabilitation centers. This represents nearly 21% of the county's total positive test results.
As far as deaths related to COVID-19, 150 of the 403 fatalities were reported by long term care facilities. This equates to 37% of the Ocean County's total lost lives as a result of the deadly virus. Notably, some of the numbers include employees who do not necessarily live within Ocean County.
Confirmed cases and deaths related to COVID-19 are categorized when patients or swabbed as far as self-reported addresses. In some cases, the death certificate may list the probable cause of death without an actual test result. This is the exception rather than the norm. The Ocean County Health Department assigns cases in long term facilities to the municipality in which the facility is located. Confirmed cases or deaths in hospitals revert to the patient's self-reported address.
How do the numbers impact individual municipalities? Jackson shows more deaths in long term facilities than overall fatalities. More than likely, employees who died and did not live in Jackson were reported by the facility. Stafford shows that 60% of the township's overall COVID-19 deaths are related to long term care facilities. The chart below details other municipalities and the impact of a nursing home or rehab within their community:
|Municipality||Total Positive Tests||LTC Positive Tests||% of LTC to Total||Total Deaths||LTC Deaths||% of LTC Deaths to Total|
In the meantime, the state does breakdown each of the long term facilities by county. The highest number of confirmed cases (105) was reported by Bartley Healthcare Nursing and Rehabilitation in Jackson. However, Crystal Lake Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Berkeley had the highest number of deaths, with 21 lives lost. A list of Ocean County Facilities appears below:
|Facility Name||Municipality||Positive Tests||Deaths|
|Alcoeur Gardens at Brick||Brick Twp||12||2|
|Alcoeur Gardens at Toms River||Toms River Twp||17||1|
|Arbors Care Center||Manchester||27||3|
|Aristacare at Manchester||Manchester||77||9|
|AristaCare at Whiting||Manchester||57||4|
|Artis at Brick||Brick Twp||3||0|
|Association for Multiple Impaired Blind||Lacey Twp||5||0|
|Association for Multiple Impaired Blind||Pine Beach||3||0|
|Atlantic Coast Rehabilitation & Healthcare||Lakewood||21||1|
|Atria Senior Living- Manahawkin||Stafford Twp||1||1|
|Barnegat Rehabilitation & Nursing Center||Barnegat Twp||19||2|
|Bartley Healthcare Nursing and Rehabilitation||Jackson Twp||105||13|
|Bella Terra Assisted Living Residence||Jackson||5||0|
|Brandywine Living at the Gables||Brick Twp||4||0|
|Care One at Jackson||Jackson Twp||21||1|
|Complete Care at Arbors Haven||Toms River Twp||2||1|
|Complete Care at Bey Lea||Toms River Twp||44||1|
|Complete Care at Green Acres||Toms River Twp||55||5|
|Complete Care at Holiday City||Toms River Twp||27||3|
|Complete Care at Laurelton||Brick Twp||44||0|
|Complete Care at Shorrock Gardens||Brick Twp||85||18|
|Complete Care at Whiting||Manchester Twp||3||1|
|Concord Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center||Lakewood||7||1|
|Crest Pointe Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center||Point Pleasant||55||1|
|Crystal Lake Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center||Berkeley Twp||91||21|
|Fountain View Care Center||Lakewood||5||0|
|Hampton Ridge Healthcare and Rehab||Toms River Twp||97||9|
|Hearthstone Estates Assisted Living||Lakewood||1||0|
|Leisure Chateau Care and Rehab Center||Lakewood||69||8|
|Leisure Park Health Center||Lakewood||30||4|
|Manahawkin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center||Stafford Twp||5||0|
|Meridian Nursing and Rehab||Brick Twp||83||11|
|Rose Garden Nursing and Rehabilitation Center||Toms River Twp||57||4|
|Shore Meadows Rehabilitation and Nursing center||Toms River Twp||15||3|
|Southern Ocean Center||Stafford||50||8|
|Spring Oak of Toms River||Toms River||7||0|
|Sunrise Assisted Living of Jackson||Jackson||5||1|
|Tallwoods Care Center||Berkeley Twp||5||0|
|The Chelsea at Brick||Brick Twp||14||0|
|The Orchards at Bartley||Jackson Twp||7||1|
|Willow Springs Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center||Brick Twp||61||9|
Murphy acknowledged many of the issues with the long term facilities, including the lack of PPEs. The federal government is in the process of sending 358 nursing homes masks, gowns, and gloves. Meanwhile, family members have complained that they are unable to contact their loved ones in long term care.
"There is a complaint hotline at the Department of Health that is manned 24/7." shared Persichelli. "The number is 1-800-792-9770."
Today, Congressman Andy Kim, who represents New Jersey's third congressional district, held a virtual question and answer session with more than 1,800 members of AARP New Jersey where he called for additional assistance for New Jersey’s seniors, especially those in long-term care facilities which have been particularly hard hit by the Coronavirus crisis.
“In times like this, our senior population can be the most vulnerable, and it’s important that we exhaust every effort to make sure their health and well-being is prioritized,” said Congressman Kim. “Our long-term care facilities have felt the brunt of this crisis; it’s critical that we do everything we can to support the men and women who work hard every day – often without enough personal protective equipment – to take care of our seniors.”
The issues brought up by members of AARP New Jersey include efforts to improve readiness at senior long-term care facilities across New Jersey, the Congressman’s role on the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and additional funding from Congress for states, localities and vulnerable communities.
“We applaud Congressman Kim for the work he is doing to pass bipartisan legislation to address the unprecedented public health and economic crisis that is now facing New Jerseyans and all Americans,” said Evelyn Liebman, AARP New Jersey’s Director of Advocacy.
“AARP New Jersey is continuing to provide information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them stay informed and stay healthy," continued Liebman. "We’re honored Congressman Kim was able to join our Telephone Town Hall and connect with listeners in Congressional District 3 for an informative discussion on the coronavirus in New Jersey, resources for residents, and answer questions about the economic stimulus package.”