Some of the top coronavirus experts and physicians across the U.S. are consulting with the Paramus Veteran Memorial Home medical staff to battle the disease after intervention by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., and New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (NJ DMVA) Brigadier General Jemal Beale.
Ninety-eight percent of the home’s residents have either tested positive for COVID-19, are awaiting results from testing or are currently hospitalized. As of April 30, 59 residents and one staff member at the facility had passed away from the virus.
Rep. Gottheimer said the nation had a sacred commitment to protect the wellbeing of the country’s veterans.
“The health crisis taking place at this facility has been devastating, heartbreaking, and utterly unacceptable. The loss of life here is an unspeakable tragedy for the North Jersey community,” he said.
“The NJ DMVA appreciates the outreach of elected officials, the local hospitals, and the community during this pandemic,” said Walter Nall, Acting Deputy Commissioner for NJ DMVA.
Doctors and infectious disease experts from a variety of New Jersey hospitals will participate in the program, providing the medical team at Paramus Veterans Memorial Home a chance to review protocols, collaborate on best practices and help triage residents.
Doctors from Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian Health, Holy Name Medical Center and The Valley Hospital will participate, who Gottheimer referred to as a “SWAT team of infectious disease doctors (that) have literally been in the eye of the COVID storm.”
“This assistance and guidance from some of the top coronavirus experts and doctors in the country will be critical to fight this outbreak, help limit further loss of life, and protect these veterans and the facility’s staff,” said Gottheimer.
Brigadier General Beale along Gottheimer and Pascrell agreed the effort would both protect the health and safety of the state’s veterans while providing greater transparency into the outbreak.
“Given the unconscionable situation in Paramus it was past time for outside doctors to be called in to evaluate the residents,” said Pascrell. “Their actions help will save lives.”
Protecting Health, Safety of Veterans
“There is nothing more sacred than the commitment our nation has to caring for those who have served and protected our country,” reiterated Gottheimer. “North Jersey was in the first wave of coronavirus cases in the country, so these doctors, who’ve been fighting this virus for months, will be using all of that experience and insight to help protect those who need it most.”
The two congressman requested the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the VA Inspector General open an federal investigation and take additional measures to protect remaining residents on April 10.
Following the request for assistance and additional personnel, the VA ordered 90 nurses to support the veterans’ facilities throughout the state, including the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home. In coordination with the state, there are now 40 New Jersey National Guard medics assisting at the Paramus Veterans Memorial Home.
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