The statement below is by Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. regarding recommendations from review of New Jersey’s LTC facilities.
“The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare just how vulnerable the residents of our long-term care facilities are. It has also laid bare that many of these facilities were devastatingly unprepared, without the necessary resources, and too slow to respond in the event of a crisis. In Camden County, more than 72 percent of all coronavirus-related deaths have occurred in our LTC facilities.
The recommendations announced today by the governor, which resulted from a rapid review of the state’s LTCs, provide us with a roadmap to develop effective reform and oversight of these facilities. We must use that roadmap to meaningfully repair these communities and to ensure that they are able to protect their residents as we move forward in this pandemic, and in the future as we prepare for the next public health crisis. I am particularly pleased to see that these recommendations address the challenges facing staff in these facilities, as well as residents. For too many of these employees it is near-impossible to stop coming into work in order to protect others because they are reliant on low wages, and without access to paid sick leave. If we are going to adequately address the needs of these communities, we have to address the issues which lead employees to put others at risk.
Our residents and staff are in dire need of swift reform to protect them from future outbreaks of COVID-19 and other dangerous transmissible diseases. As the governor’s recommendations state, these reforms must bring accountability and transparency to the facilities which house one of our most vulnerable populations. It is critically important that these reforms be put into place to ensure that our residents can receive the quality of care and service that they deserve, and so that our we never face another tragedy like that which has befallen LTCs in the past three months.”