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Tip on Corpse in Nursing Home Shed Leads to 17 Bodies

New Jersey facility was simply 'overwhelmed' by people dying, local police chief says
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2020 6:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – A gruesome discovery was made Monday at one of New Jersey's largest licensed nursing homes, after a tip came in to police that a body was being stored in a shed. When Andover cops showed up at Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center I and II, there was no body in the shed, but there were 17 piled up inside the facility's four-person morgue. "They were just overwhelmed by the amount of people who were expiring," says Police Chief Eric Danielson, who tells CNN the facility was likely "short-staffed." A funeral home will be picking up four of the bodies; the other 13 have been sent to a refrigerated truck at a local hospital. These deaths are just part of the 68 recently logged at the nursing home, 26 of which were from COVID-19; the other causes of death aren't clear. Meanwhile, 76 patients there have the virus, as well as 41 workers.

Conditions at the facility—which had poor ratings and multiple violations even before the pandemic, per Newsweek—as well as a lack of protective personal equipment and communications from higher-ups, spurred complaints as well; police also visited the facility on Sunday, the New Jersey Herald reports. And it's not just this nursing home that's been hit by the virus: Per stats shared Monday by NJ Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, about 10% of the state's 60,000 residents in long-term care facilities have COVID-19. "It's pretty clear that a big weakness in the system ... is long-term care facilities," Gov. Phil Murphy tells the Times, adding that once the dust settles on the pandemic, his state must more closely examine what happened in these facilities. (Horrific stories have emerged from a Virginia nursing home.)

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