TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has again deployed the National Guard, but not at the request of the newly-resigned Jackson Township Councilman, Barry Calogero, who called for a Lakewood military deployment. Instead, Murphy has deployed medical members of the National Guard to be deployed to assist the state’s nursing homes which have been the root source of more than 60% of all COVID-19 fatalities statewide. National Guard troops will provide relief to overworked healthcare workers at facilities that have been hit hard with COVID-19 outbreaks. One hundred and twenty National Guard troops will be on the ground across New Jersey this weekend, according to the Governor.
“We have spent a significant amount of time over the past couple of days speaking about our efforts, not just the past couple, but especially the past couple of days, to tackle the ongoing challenges and crisis at our long-term care facilities,” Murphy said. “Both Judy and her team and the Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and his team have detailed their ongoing work, and yesterday we announced the nationally recognized expert team we are assembling to take our reviews even further. But we know that the heroic frontline staff at these facilities need some extra helping hands. I have been very critical of the ownership and corporate management of some of these facilities, but to be clear, the nurses and aides on the ground working to keep their residents safe and healthy deserve our deepest, deepest thanks.”
“And they also deserve some backup, some relief from the bullpen. So today I am announcing that I’ve directed the New Jersey National Guard to deploy its members to long-term care facilities beginning, I think they’re in fact visiting today and it’s going to take place this weekend at the latest, Judy, right? This coming weekend at latest, to assist in our COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” he said. “Over 120 soldiers will be in the first tranche of assistance and we are working with our long-term care centers to backfill the need, they are not able to fill on their own. And, Judy, we’ve said this before, but just to reiterate, these are non-clinical folks and we are not robbing from Peter to pay Paul, which was our challenge before. If you’re a healthcare professional in the Guard, you’re already doing something that we need. This is folks who are not healthcare professionals, doing non-clinical but a very essential work. I thank not just Judy and her team, but the Adjutant General Brigadier General Jemal Beale, and New Jersey Air National Guard Colonel Yvonne Mays, who will be the officer in charge of the long-term care facility teams. We don’t take this step lightly, but we take it knowing that the crisis in our long-term care facilities requires us to take it.”