Newark, NJ – Statement of Milly Silva, Executive Vice President, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
“As talk of ‘reopening’ New Jersey intensifies, nursing home patients and their caregivers continue to be at extreme risk to a lethal virus. It is unacceptable that more than two months after COVID-19 arrived in New Jersey, frontline nursing home workers are still lacking basic personal protect equipment.
“It is no wonder why COVID-19 has spread with such ferocity when there are caregivers still wearing garbage bags instead of gowns, being told to reuse latex gloves and masks, and falling sick themselves in significant numbers as they move from patient to patient.
“We applaud Governor Murphy’s announcement of the creation of a long-term care taskforce to address issues both immediate and long-term in the industry. And we are encouraged by Attorney General Grewal’s recent announcement of a statewide investigation into the conduct of nursing homes during the pandemic.
“As this crisis continues, we need stricter oversight of nursing homes’ compliance with existing law, fast-track virus testing for every nursing home worker and patient statewide, and coordinated reallocation of PPE supplies to the places where it’s needed most. It is not too late to save the lives of many people, but this demands a renewed sense of urgency to bring relief to caregivers and their patients.”
*** 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest growing healthcare union nationwide with over 450,000 members.