PARSIPPANY, NJ -- As a result of a series of meetings with veterans and VFW leadership in New Jersey, Rosemary Becchi, a candidate for the 11th Congressional District in New Jersey, is elevating a call from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of New Jersey, for an independent investigation of the coronavirus response in all veterans nursing homes in the state of New Jersey.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jersey veteran nursing homes suffered extreme losses with one facility losing one in four residents for a total of 142 veterans, spouses and Gold Star parents. 

“The inaction of our New Jersey leadership and lack of response to the coronavirus deaths in our veteran nursing homes is shameful. Our veterans have put their lives on the line to fight for our country, and we now need to fight for them. It is quite simply the least we can do,” said Rosemary Becchi.

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“I call directly upon Representative Mikie Sherrill to immediately call for an independent investigation into the loss of lives at our New Jersey veterans homes so that we can put a plan in place to protect our veterans as soon as possible. Mikie Sherrill’s inaction is unacceptable, our veterans deserve better.”

There was a delay of more than two weeks after the crisis was first reported for healthy residents to be separated from patients who tested positive for COVID-19. By all accounts, this inaction likely led to the spread of the virus, according to Becchi.

In April, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of New Jersey, along with Congressmen Gottheimer and Pascrell requested that the VA Inspector General’s Office investigate the state's response to COVID-19 with the goal of improving response times and instituting best practices to protect our most vulnerable populations. Mikie Sherrill did nothing and was notably absent, according to Becchi.