Department of Health surveyors were out in force visiting long term care facilities to inspect and assess their compliance with state and federal regulations and guidelines. Over the weekend 21 facilities were inspected with additional surveys planned this week.
At Monday’s daily COVID-briefing along with Governor Phil Murphy, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that survey teams are looking at infection control, staffing availability of personal protective equipment, and implementation of an outbreak response plan.
Facilities that were issued deficiency reports will be required to submit to the department directed plans of correction this week.
As a result of the department’s findings at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, they are being required to hire a consultant administrator, a consultant director of nursing, and infection control professional, and they are required to cease all admissions.
They must inform the department of their selection of these individuals who must be approved by the department.
Last week 17 bodies were discovered inside the Andover facility.
At Andover I, facility nine residents have been reported positive for COVID-19, two have been hospitalized, and 34 have been identified as having flu symptoms. There have been seven total deaths since April 3 – five of the deaths were due to COVID-19 and four staff members have flu symptoms.
Andover II reported 84 residents with COVID-19 an additional 99 are showing respiratory symptoms. Forty-eight staff members are reporting flu symptoms and there have been 28 deaths since March 30; 14 of those deaths were due to COVID-19.
The health department has posted a listing of all facilities, their number of reported COVID-19 cases and the number of reported deaths due to COVID-19.
“Repeatedly we have reinforced their obligation to inform residents, staff, and families. However, we are still hearing concerns that that is not taking place. In the full interest of transparency, we are sharing the details,” said Persichilli.
CMS issued new guidelines similar to New Jersey’s mandate to require long term care facilities to notify its residents and their representatives of cases at their facilities.
Persichilli said that CMS has also reinforced an existing requirement in New Jersey that nursing homes must report communicable diseases, health care-associated infections and potential outbreaks to state and local health departments that is already a state regulation.
They will also require that these reports go directly to CMS.
Persichilli reminded all long-term care and other health facilities that they should report suspect outbreaks immediately to their local health care departments.
“This will enable the local health departments to assist facilities in assessing the outbreak and put proper infection control procedures in place.”