Citing Nursing Home Deaths, Pennacchio Renews Call for Senate Select Oversight Committee on Pandemic

Introduces Resolution Calling for Legislative Investigation to Begin Immediately

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Senator Joseph Pennacchio. File Photo

MORRIS COUNTY — Recent reports show that 50 percent of all New Jersey COVID-19 deaths have occurred in the state’s long-term care facilities, which has prompted New Jersey State Senator Joe Pennacchio to once again call for an immediate investigation by a Senate Select Oversight Committee.

“We have learned that 4,800 poor souls lost their lives in New Jersey’s long-term care facilities,” said Senator Pennacchio (R-26).  “These facilities fall under the direct regulatory oversight of the State of New Jersey’s Department of Health.  It makes no sense to order those facilities to accept all patients, regardless of whether they were COVID-19 infected, and impose a ban on virus testing on patients entering those facilities, yet the department did exactly that. Ultimately, it wound up adding to the devastation these long-term nursing homes have experienced.”

The Senator today introduced a resolution that would establish a bipartisan Senate Select Committee on the Executive Branch’s Response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We must do our due diligence as elected state representatives to question and evaluate the Administration’s response, and we must do it immediately,” emphasized Pennacchio.

The bipartisan committee, with six members from the Senate, would investigate the cause and effects of the pandemic on New Jersey’s people and its economy, and the administration’s handling of those events. Committee would develop strategies to improve state response to future outbreaks and other statewide emergencies.

“I stand ready to contribute to a Senate Select Oversight Committee and suggest we begin as soon as possible,” said Pennacchio, citing the United States Senate, and the Governor’s daily briefings as exampled of elected officials be able to meet during the crisis.”

This weekend, NJ.com published a piece citing the state’s COVID-19 dashboard that indicated 4,825 of the State’s fatalities occurred in nursing homes, nearly 50% of the total deaths statewide.

New Jersey’s long-term care facilities are home to 61,000 vulnerable seniors, or 0.67 percent of the state’s 9 million population, yet they account for half of New Jersey’s coronavirus deaths.  The Garden State leads all states in the nation in nursing home fatalities.  Florida with a population of 22 million people has experienced 1/10 the nursing home deaths.