Jan 7, 2022 - Health

New Jersey deploys National Guard to nursing homes as COVID surges

Members of the New York Army National Guard at the Morris County Covid-19 vaccination site at the Townsquare Mall in Rockaway, New Jersey, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021

New York Army National Guard at the Morris County COVID-19 vaccination site at the Townsquare Mall in Rockaway, N.J., on Jan. 8, 2021. Photo: Sarah Blesener/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday that the National Guard will deploy to long-term care facilities across the state to assist with COVID-19 outbreaks and staffing shortages due to the virus.

The big picture: New Jersey nursing homes were devastated during the early stages of the pandemic and experienced some of the highest death tolls in the country.

  • Officials at two of the deadliest nursing home sites in the state — Menlo Park and Paramus Veterans Memorial Homes — agreed last month to pay $53 million to families of 119 veterans who died of COVID in facilities, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Families of individuals who died claimed that managers in the facilities acted with gross negligence in fending off the pandemic, per the Journal.
  • The settlement amounts to approximately $445,000 per family.

Driving the news: "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," Murphy said in a statement.

  • Approximately 150 members of the New Jersey National Guard will support more than a dozen long-term care facilities, where they will assist with administrative and logistical support, among other things.
  • Guard members are expected to begin at their assigned locations on Jan. 10, per the New Jersey Department of Health.

Go deeper: Nursing homes could be forced to close if staff shortages worsen

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