Right from the outset, we knew that nursing homes were some of the most vulnerable populations in the US to the coronavirus outbreak.
That truly hit home this week when officers responding to an anonymous tip found a total of 17 bodies at the Andover Subacute and Rehab Center II in New Jersey.
On Wednesday, local police received a tip that more than a dozen bodies were piled up in a shed at the nursing home.
When police responded, they did not find bodies at the shed, but they did find something that took them completely by surprise in the morgue. The facility’s morgue can only hold four bodies, but this one had 17.
Andover Police Chief Eric C. Danielson stated, “They were just overwhelmed by the amount of people who were expiring,” adding that “the staff was clearly overwhelmed and probably short-staffed.”
Police left the four bodies being properly stored and removed the additional 13 bodies to a refrigerated trailer at the Newton Medical Center.
Nursing home problems
Our country’s first coronavirus outbreak was in a Washington state nursing home.
The coronavirus ran rampant through that facility and has proceeded to decimate nursing homes across the country.
NBC News reported on Thursday that there have been more than 5,600 deaths linked to COVID-19 in nursing homes across 29 states. However, the government does not track these deaths specifically, leading to fears that the number is even higher.
While the virus clearly affects those with underlying conditions, we also have to look at the quality of the homes where the virus has hit hardest. Is this a problem among the elderly in these homes or the facilities themselves?
For instance, this particular New Jersey nursing home, which is one of the biggest facilities in the state, had been cited with five health citations during its last inspection. Additionally, it has a rating of “much below average” by Medicare.
So, while the elderly are already more at risk, we have to entertain the fact the facilities themselves could be partly to blame simply because they are not up to standards when it comes to cleanliness and care for their patients.