North Jersey News Roundup for May 21, 2020

Authorized licensed New Jersey pharmacists were granted the ability to administer COVID-19 tests to customers, enabling pharmacies statewide to serve as testing sites. Gov. Phil Murphy said allowing the more than 18,000 pharmacists in the state to provide the test is a key step in obtaining the goal of doubling statewide testing by the end of May as laid out in his Road Back recovery plan.

An investigation of long-term care facilities by NJ Advance Media for points to major missteps and negligence by the state based on internal department records, statements by officials and interviews with those involved in decisions behind the scenes. The investigation found New Jersey failed to react fast enough or take forceful, aggressive actions to slow the virus in nursing homes, according to more than a dozen public health experts, industry officials, family members and advocates.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer is a cosponsor of legislation to create strike teams of clinical and non-clinical staff to provide support to long-term care facilities experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19. The Sending Outside Support Act of 2020 (SOS Act) would authorize the U.S. Secretary Health and Human Services to allocate investment to states for the creation of these strike teams to assist facility personnel with the management and treatment of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg wants a more detailed blueprint for reopening. During a virtual town forum hosted by Ramapo College’s Sabrin Center for Free Enterprise, Weinberg said there is a need to bring “more rational thought behind what we’re opening up, giving people enough advance notice to prepare whatever they have to prepare in terms of bringing back a workforce or preparing their facility to operate safely.”

Newark has about 400 volunteers in its contact-tracing program. The Newark Alliance, a nonprofit group that focuses on improving the city’s economy, is leading the effort along with city health officials, Rutgers University and Partners in Health, a nonprofit global-health organization that is directing the contact-tracing program in Massachusetts. The Wall Street Journal

New Jersey officials warned of thousands of scams have been reported involving phony coronavirus contact tracers seeking to get information from residents. Officials warned residents to never give personal information like Social Security numbers and bank information if they are contacted by somebody who claims to be a contact tracer as that information is not needed.

Atlantic Health System president and CEO Robert Gragnolati believes residents will have to coexist with the coronavirus when it returns. Granolati said as new treatments and vaccinations for COVID-19 are pending, the hospital system and residents will have to prepare for the inevitable return of the virus, potentially as soon as the fall and for several years. New Jersey Herald

Kean University will cut several academic programs due to a budget deficit brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The university is cutting majors in music, theater, sustainability science and economics. Professors and office managers will be laid off as well. News12 New Jersey

New Jersey residents enrolled in the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be able to use their benefits to order groceries online. SNAP recipients will be able to use their benefits card to order groceries from Amazon starting on May 27 and from Walmart, ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer May 28.

The National Federation of State High School Associations released an outline of a safe return to high school sports. The document lists precautionary measures that must take place before any contact play resumes and says that until a valid treatment or vaccine is available, or herd immunity is reached, preventive measures such as social distancing and face covering should be used if practices or games are to take place in the fall. Boys lacrosse, football and wrestling and will have the highest risk to bring back, and individual running and swimming events and golf will be the lowest risk to bring back, according to guidelines. The Daily Record

And finally…Drive-thru petting zoo and farm Brookhollow’s Barnyard in Boonton reopened. The Record

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.