Police find 17 bodies piled up in NJ nursing home morgue

Coronavirus
Andover Subacute and Rehab Center

Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center II in Andover, New Jersey.

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ANDOVER, N.J. — New Jersey police made a grisly discovery in one of the state’s largest nursing homes Monday after receiving a tip about a body in a shed.

According to CNN, the tip led cops to the Andover Subacute and Rehab Center II, one of the state’s largest nursing homes.

While the original tip was unfounded, officers were met by overwhelmed staff at the facility asking for help with bodies in their small morgue.

Officers responding Monday night were then met with 17 bodies of deceased residents, each in a body bag, crammed into the morgue only meant to hold up to four bodies, the New York Times reported.

Thirteen of the discovered bodies were taken and brought to a refrigerated trailer at the nearby Newton Medical Center and four remained at the nursing home.

Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health Judith Persichilli said Thursday the department was contacted by the facility over the weekend as it was in need for body bags for deceased residents.

A team was sent out to survey the facility, which had appropriate staffing and PPE at the time, according to Persichilli. Since then, the facility was ordered to report daily to the health department.

Gov. Phil Murphy called news about the incident “completely unacceptable” while Persichilli said the health department is “not pleased with what’s going on at the Andover facility.”

As of Thursday, Persichilli said the Andover II, which has a 419 census, has 84 COVID-positive residents, 99 other residents showing respiratory symptoms and about 48 staff members are showing flu-like symptoms. Since March 30, there have been 28 deaths at fthe facility, with at least 14 of them related to COVID-19.

While Andover Police Chief Eric Danielson told CNN it’s not clear if all the residents died from COVID-19 complications, nursing homes in New jersey and nationally have been hit hard by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

More than 3,300 deaths nationwide have been linked to coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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