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May 07, 2020

New Jersey National Guard deploys to state's long-term care facilities to support staffs

More than 120 members will be activated to assist in non-clinical roles

Government Coronavirus
New Jersey national guard nursing homes Edwin J. Torres/New Jersey Office of the Governor

The New Jersey National Guard will begin helping out at long-term care facilities across the state, Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday.

The New Jersey National Guard will deploy 120 soldiers to long-term care facilities this weekend to support staff trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in this facilities.

The National Guard members who will assist at nursing homes are not clinically trained and will be performing non-medical tasks in the facilities, Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday. This could include anything from delivering meals to residents to janitorial work to monitoring residents to make sure they are social distancing.

"We know that the heroic frontline staff at these facilities need some extra helping hands," Murphy said. "The nurses and aides on the ground, working to keep their residents safe and healthy, deserve our deepest thanks. They also deserve some backup and relief from the bullpen."

"We don't take this step lightly, but the crisis in our long-term care facilities requires us to take it."

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths due to COVID-19 continue to increase at long-term care facilities throughout the U.S. In New Jersey, more than the have been COVID-19 outbreaks confirmed at more than 500 long-term facilities, resulting in 24,874 positive cases and 4,556 deaths due to the virus.

Long-term care facilities account for more than 18% of New Jersey's total number of coronavirus cases and more than half of the state's deaths due to COVID-19 as of Thursday.

New Jersey reported 1,827 more positive coronavirus cases on Thursday, increasing the state's total to 133,635. There have been 8,801 deaths due to the virus statewide. South Jersey has had 12,545 confirmed cases and 580 deaths due to COVID-19.

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli told NJ Advance Media on Saturday that she had requested that the National Guard assist staffs at nursing homes across the state.

On Tuesday, New Jersey officials opened an investigation into how the state's long-term care facilities have handled the coronavirus outbreak. Led by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, the New Jersey will review how long-term care facilities were operating before the COVID-19 pandemic and how they responded when the crisis ensued.

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