After forcing COVID-19 patients into nursing homes, Murphy blamed nursing homes for outbreaks, deaths

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TRENTON, NJ – Jack Ciattarelli, the GOP candidate for Governor of New Jersey last night blamed his election opponent, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy for the 8,000 nursing home deaths that resulted following an order by the Murphy administration.

That order, signed in March of 2020 by Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli ordered that nursing homes must take in COVID-19 positive patients and that those homes were forbidden to test their residents for COVID-19 upon their return.

That decision may have ultimately led to the deaths of 8,000 senior citizens and veterans in private and state-run long-term care facilities. The decision made by the Murphy administration remains under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Last night, Murphy blamed the nursing homes for those outbreaks and deaths saying they did not follow the letter of his order. Ciattarelli said he felt that Murphy set those facilities up for failure by not providing them with the proper tools to combat COVID-19 including face masks, protective gear, COVID-19 tests or detailed guidance for the treatment of COVID-19 patients returning to their facilities.

As of today, one-third of all of New Jersey’s COVID-19 fatalities occurred in those nursing homes.

“New Jersey was not unique, this happened all over the country and all over the world,” Murphy said. “With all due respect to the premise of the question, we were crystal clear about the terms upon which these residents, which by the way, it’s their home, would return to their homes. They needed to be separated by floor, by wing, by building.”

Murphy said LTC facilities were also required to separate staff members treating COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 residents.

“New Jersey leads the nation in COVID-19 deaths because Phil Murphy required them to take in COVID-19 patients,” Ciattarelli said. “There’s even a public record from one of the nursing home operators saying on a conference call with his department of health, do you realize if you do this, people will die,” Ciattarelli said.

“We were crystal clear,” he said. “Facts matter it’s not true. These are residents returning to their home…if nursing homes didn’t do the right thing, they were inspected, they were fined and they’ll pay a price for that.”

“He asked the nursing homes to do the impossible,” Ciattarelli said.