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Report: Fever of 104.9 Was Ignored. Death Came Days Later

Federal review finds 53 coronavirus deaths at NJ facility where bodies piled up
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2020 12:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – In April, police received a tip about a body being kept in a shed at a New Jersey nursing home. They found 17 bodies in the small morgue of Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center II, but that was just the first detail to emerge. At least 53 residents of the home have died since March after testing positive for COVID-19, the New York Times reports based on a federal review. State and federal inspectors found sick residents awaiting test results were sharing rooms with healthy people. Nurses didn't change gloves and masks between room visits, even as they handled soiled linens, per the New Jersey Herald. One resident showed a fever of 104.9 on April 6 but was not given medication or subsequently monitored; the resident died on April 8. Another resident tested positive a week before their sibling and power of attorney was notified. The patient died three days later.

The privately owned facility, which reported 184 cases among 419 residents, was fined $220,000 for putting residents in "immediate jeopardy" from April 6 to 21, according to the report released Thursday. Daily fines are accruing "until substantial compliance is achieved or termination occurs," per NBC New York. Members of the National Guard arrived Thursday to clean and disinfect the facility, which is "chronically short of staff and masks and has over the last two years received poor grades from federal and state inspectors," per the Times. But operator Chaim Scheinbaum says there has been "steady progress," with virus-related deaths down 90% "compared to the height of the pandemic." He adds "the work force is at full strength with a team of new consultants and other professionals on board to help us through this crisis." (Read more nursing homes stories.)

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