Two years into the pandemic, Murphy deploys Army National Guard to nursing homes again

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TRENTON – COVID-19 is once again spreading through nursing homes across New Jersey despite high vaccination rates and booster rates statewide. Two years into the global COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s efforts to defeat the COVID-19 virus in the Garden State are not working.

Business closures, mask mandates, school masking, vaccine shaming and virus shaming have not stopped the spread of COVID-19 and now, the state is seeing record numbers.

The deployment comes just two weeks after the state announced a multi-million dollar settlement with families of elderly patients who died when Phil Murphy ordered COVID-19 patients to be relocated to facilities ill-prepared to deal with the virus, leading to the deaths of thousands of elderly residents.

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The Murphy administration issued the following release:

Governor Murphy today announced that the New Jersey National Guard will be deploying to long-term care facilities throughout New Jersey to assist with COVID-19 response efforts and to augment facilities’ staffing. This is an extension of Joint Task Force COVID Guardian, which has provided coordinated assistance to numerous long-term care facilities since the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Time and time again, the New Jersey National Guard has stepped up to the plate throughout this pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “This deployment will send members of our National Guard to long-term care facilities with staffing needs and will act to protect the health and safety of long-term-care residents while the Omicron variant surges throughout the nation. 

“COVID-19 is still a threat to our New Jersey communities,” said Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner Brig. Gen. Lisa Hou, D.O. “The Soldiers and Airmen of the New Jersey National Guard are working hard every day to protect public health.”

“We are grateful to the National Guard for their assistance in caring for the residents of those facilities most in need,” said Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Throughout this pandemic, protecting our most vulnerable residents has been paramount. As we have seen in the community, COVID-19 cases and outbreaks have been rising for several weeks in our long-term care facilities. We continue to work closely with long-term care facilities throughout the state to ensure that they have the staff they need.”

Approximately 150 Soldiers and Airmen of the New Jersey National Guard are preparing to support staffing requirements of more than a dozen long-term care facilities around the state. Guard members will assist regular staff with a variety of tasks, including administrative and logistical support. Members are undergoing training and work is anticipated to start at their assigned locations on Monday, January 10, 2022.

Tasks that National Guard members will assist with will include:

  • Assist residents with getting from bed to chair, walking
  • Assistance in dressing and daily hygiene activities
  • Meal set-up and feeding
  • Routine assistance
  • Testing and screening staff, residents, and visitors’
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