Lawmakers Demand Hearings on State’s Covid Nursing Home Deaths

Senator Joe Pennacchio reacted to word that the Senate Democrats will launch a special legislative committee to review delays with legal marijuana sales in the state, reiterating calls for a Senate Select Committee investigation of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.

“The Legislature is going to get to the bottom of legal pot paralysis. While we’re at it, let’s get rolling with a bipartisan panel to examine the policies and decisions that may have contributed to 10,000 COVID-related nursing home deaths,” said Pennacchio. “Prioritizing an investigation into the shortcomings of legal marijuana in New Jersey is an insult to the souls lost in nursing homes and their loved ones. It makes no sense.

“It shouldn’t be ‘either/or.’ The horrible loss of life in senior care facilities across the state reflects the heart-breaking failure of a system intended to protect our most vulnerable citizens,” Pennacchio continued.

Since May 11, 2020, when he announced his resolution to form a bipartisan investigative Senate Select Oversight Committee, Pennacchio has pressed Democrats to consider the factors behind the nursing home carnage, including a directive from the Administration requiring facilities to admit patients with COVID and prohibiting them from testing residents for the virus.

“We need to understand what was going on inside the nursing homes, and how directives from the Administration impacted the level of patient care and the spread of the virus inside locked-down, isolated facilities. There’s no reason the Senate can’t scrutinize both issues,” said Pennacchio.

“The families who lost loved ones during the pandemic are desperate for answers. With bipartisan support, we can address their questions and take steps to prevent similar tragedies in the future,” the Senator concluded.

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