TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblymen Erik Peterson and Robert Auth want Democrats to start showing the same care for the elderly, the most vulnerable population to Covid-19, as they have for prisoners. Though there w
as a hearing Wednesday on how prisoners were handled in response to the pandemic, there hasn’t yet been a hearing on the treatment of seniors.
“The governor has shown a systematic callousness to the health of institutionalized individuals, leading to the early release of convicts and while countless seniors died alone in nursing homes,” said Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Hunterdon). “Our parents, grandparents, and their families deserve an investigatory hearing like the one held for prisoners.”
The Assembly Judiciary and Law and Public Safety committees joined together to hear several hours of testimony Wednesday on the conditions at state and county correctional facilities, while long-term care facilities have yet to be investigated by lawmakers.
“The sequence of hearings shows the Democrats prioritize caring for those convicted of crimes over our parents and grandparents in nursing homes and veterans’ homes,” said Assemblyman Robert Auth (R-Bergen). “Many of the most vulnerable citizens in these facilities have been neglected by the Murphy Administration with inadequate preparation and response.”
A hearing to receive recommendations on improving risk prevention and response in long-term care facilities is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16.
“Holding a hearing on how to improve the response does not hold Governor Murphy accountable,” said Peterson. “His careless mistake to force nursing homes to accept infected patients resulted in possibly thousands of avoidable deaths. Democrats want to look past that. The governor and his administration need to be held accountable for purposely and recklessly placing Covid-19 infected individuals in nursing homes and long term care facilities where the most vulnerable among us live.”
New Jersey has reached over 5,400 confirmed deaths and over 23,000 resident cases in long-term care facilities. Correctional facilities have experienced far fewer cases and about 46 deaths.
“A real investigation into the crisis in long-term care facilities will show the Murphy administration’s policies, delayed response, and inadequate assistance led to increased cases and deaths,” concluded Auth. “The governor must be held accountable the same as any other leader who has made such grave mistakes.”