Victims of Covid-19 and Loneliness: The sad testimonies mixed with frustration and outrage over the 11 bodies piled up in a nursing home in New Jersey

An anonymous call would have revealed a surprising find in an Andover nursing home; they fear it is linked to the coronavirus.

NEW JERSEY – An anonymous call raised the alert. An old man had been found dead in the shed of a residence in Andover, New Jersey. Sussex County Police responded immediately and eventually found a total of 17 deaths stacked in a small morgue intended for just four bodies. “We feel helpless,” say family members in a Facebook group in which they try to ask the authorities for explanations and help.

It is the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center nursing home and those 17 deaths bring to 68 the recently deceased residents in its two centers, 26 with positive for COVID-19, in addition to infecting many nurses, among whom there is concern. There are many deceased – the total is 10% of its 700 residents – for which a medical explanation has not yet been given.

All point out that the cause of such high mortality is the coronavirus, but in the residences the diagnostic tests have also failed.

“When we arrived we saw that they were overwhelmed by the number of people who were expiring,” Andover Police Chief Eric C. Danielson told local media, not used to a daunting situation like the current one in a small town in the northernmost area. of the state of New Jersey.

“I feel so defenseless,” wrote one of the relatives of the older deceased, the woman who started a group of affected people on Facebook last Tuesday after receiving the first news. “I feel like everyone is going to have COVID. What do we do? ”, She wondered, hurt by the delay in the reaction of the center and the authorities.

The first thing they achieved was that the bodies were transferred to a refrigerated truck, one of those mobile morgues that proliferate these days of pandemic throughout the United States, especially on the East Coast, and that the authorities provide medical prevention material to the personnel of the residences in the area.

The desperation is even greater among the relatives because among the current confinement orders is the fact that the federal authorities have banned visits to nursing homes and veterans centers since mid-March.

“Once a person in the residence gets sick, it spreads pretty quickly,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “We are seeing this across the state.”

Gottheimer said both his office and state officials are working to make sure the Andover facility has what it needs, which he says is made difficult by the “severe shortage of nurses” in New Jersey. His office contacted FEMA, the federal emergency agency, and the secretary of Health and Human Services on Wednesday to see if federal aid is available.

The discovery at the Andover center comes as 5,670 people died of coronavirus in nursing homes in the US, according to federal government data.

The governor of the state of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, has affirmed that once the coronavirus pandemic ends, an investigation will be opened into what has happened in Andover, but that will be too late for the families of those affected.

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