TRENTON, NJ – An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Paramus Memorial Veteran Home has claimed at least 70 lives as of Monday, with 189 residents testing positive, with 7 tests still outstanding according to published reports.  There are 211 residents at the Veterans Home. 

New Jersey State Senator Joseph Lagana (District 36-Bergen) has asked for an investigation in a statement to the media on Tuesday. 

“COVID-19 has created an unprecedented challenge to the care and health of our most vulnerable populations, including the brave men and women who have served this country so valiantly in their lifetimes that now reside in our veteran’s homes. In my hometown of Paramus, our Veterans Home has seen devastation that is unimaginable.

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“It is our duty to do all we can to help veterans through this crisis and take a closer look at all of our veterans’ homes to ensure that best practices are being met.  My recent conversation with the new Acting Commissioner of the Department of Military and Veteran’s Affairs was eye-opening, and I thank Colonel Walter Nall for his accessibility and honesty.

“The Paramus home has seen 189 COVID-positive residents, which includes a heart breaking 70 deaths.  Loved ones are understandably upset over this and it is the obligation of those in charge to provide answers to them as quickly as possible.  I applaud our members of Congress for beginning a federal inquiry into the facility and I will work with all involved to ensure that the protocols put in place actually protect the vulnerable population.  Further, I join with Senator Gopal, Chairman of the Military and Veteran’s Affairs committee, on which I serve, in seeking answers to those important questions that have been posed to the Department.

“Colonel Nall has assured me that he is in the process of providing a detailed explanation as it relates to the facility within the Department he recently took over.  It is absolutely imperative that we find out how this happened, why it spread so quickly, were existing protocols followed, were patients appropriately isolated, were workers given the proper PPE, how were next of kin advised, and most importantly, where did the failures occur and how will this be prevented in the future.  

“Make no mistake, we are living through a terrible tragedy and those on the front line should be praised for their heroism, including the staff on the ground at these homes.  Our aging heroes, those who kept our nation safe during other dark times in our history, deserve better and I, along with my colleagues in the 38th Legislative District, Assemblywoman Lisa Swain and Assemblyman Chris Tully, will not rest until all our questions have been answered, the public is given full disclosure of what happened and we have a clear path forward to better serving those who have served.”