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NJ’s 3 veterans homes have 58 residents with coronavirus, 14 deaths. Combat medics sent to help.

New Jersey National Guard (U.S. Air Force/Released)

New Jersey’s veterans memorial homes have also been “severely impacted” by the still-growing coronavirus outbreak, the state’s top health official said Wednesday.

The state has three living facilities for military veterans — in Paramus, Edison, and Vineland. As of Thursday afternoon, 58 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 14 have died from it, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

The Paramus home has been hit particularly hard, with 40 confirmed cases, five residents hospitalized, and 10 deaths from COVID-19, Persichilli said.

She added that the homes have had “staffing issues,” and the National Guard has sent 40 combat medics to the Paramus home and 35 to the facility in the Menlo Park section of Edison.

Meanwhile, the Guard is sending five licensed practical nurses and for registered nurses to the homes by April 14.

New Jersey, a state of 9 million residents, has at least 51,027 cases and 1,70 deaths from COVID-19, officials announced Thursday. That’s more than any U.S. state but New York.

Officials say about 85% of people will see mild symptoms, but 15% face more sever cases — especially older residents and those with underlying conditions.

The virus has also seriously affected long-term care facilities, or nursing homes, in New Jersey. Of the 375 in the state, 262 long-term of those facilities have reported at least one case. Of the new deaths announced Thursday, 20 were at those facilities.

To help reduce the spread and ensure hospital capacity, Gov. Phil Murphy has put the state into near-lockdown, ordering residents to stay at home, banning social gatherings, closing schools, and mandating non-essential retail businesses close until further notice. He has also limited the number of people can be in businesses allowed to remain open and required employees and shoppers to wear face coverings.

Officials say New Jersey could see its peak number of cases between April 19 and May 11, while the peak number of hospitalizations could come between April 10 and April 28.

Murphy has said he’s not close to lifting his restrictions to make sure residents keep social distancing and prevent the virus from “boomeranging” in the future.


© 2020 NJ Advance Media Group