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    New Jersey Failed Veterans in State-Run Homes Hit by Dozens of COVID-19 Deaths, Federal Report Says

    New Jersey Failed Veterans in State-Run Homes Hit by Dozens of COVID-19 Deaths, Federal Report Says

    TRENTON, N.J.— Widespread dysfunction at 's two state-run veterans homes left them unprepared to keep residents safe during the -19 pandemic, violating their constitutional rights to reasonable care while in state custody, a scathing report by the U.S Justice Department found Thursday.

    The 43-page document paints a disturbing picture of failures at the homes in Menlo Park and Paramus where dozens of deaths occurred early in the outbreak. It said poor communication, lack of staff competency and other issues led to the coronavirus spreading “virtually unchecked throughout the facilities.”

    Among the findings: The homes failed to group residents into cohorts according to their exposure to COVID-19, resulting in the commingling of infected and uninfected people; they didn't properly use personal protective gear; they failed to communicate effectively internally and did not maintain improvements achieved after the U.S. Veterans Affairs Departments came in to help, among other issues.

    “Even by the standards of the pandemic's difficult early days, the facilities were unprepared to keep their residents safe,” the report said.

    The facilities are operated by the state's Department of and Veterans Affairs, each with just over 300 beds. The state reached a $53 million agreement in 2021 to settle claims that it was negligent and contributed to more than 100 deaths at the two VA homes.

    Democratic Gov….

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