New Jersey still wrestles with visitations at nursing homes during pandemic

By KYW Newsradio 1060
TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, families of those in long-term care facilities in New Jersey have been unable to visit loved ones for months now. Health officials say they are working on new ways to allow those visits in some fashion.

Hardly a day goes by that Health Commissioner Judith Persichelli doesn’t deal with the issue. But given half of the over 12,000 fatalities linked to the virus statewide are in those facilities, they have to strike a delicate balance. And they’re trying.

“We’re looking at what some other states are doing,” Persichelli told reporters at a recent briefing. “We’ve identified some guidelines that we’re just not ready to put out yet but we will be soon.”

The challenge? Keeping conditions as safe as they can and that’s not easy for residents who are already in frail health to begin with.

“This is something we struggle with,” she added. “We understand both sides of this issue but it’s not something that we’re going to be putting out without a lot of thought. But we will come up with a way for residents to have visitors in very selected circumstances.”

Over 500 long-term care facilities are wrestling with the virus among residents and staffers alike.