ANDOVER, N.J. (AP) — Police responding to an anonymous tip found more than a dozen bodies at a nursing home in northwestern New Jersey, according to news reports.
Five bodies were found Sunday and 13 more were found on Monday at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, Andover Township Police Chief Eric Danielson told The New Jersey Herald.
The remains found at the facility were among 68 deaths linked to the home, including both residents and two nurses, The New York Times reported, citing Danielson, other officials and county records shared with a federal official. At least 26 of those deaths were confirmed by laboratory tests to be related to COVID-19, the newspaper said.
Police released a photo of a box truck parked outside the home that was being used to store the bodies after a hazmat team removed them.
More than 100 residents and staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the Times reported.
The coronavirus has spread quickly through nursing homes around the country, leading to pressure on federal health officials to publicly track COVID-19 infections and deaths. In New Jersey, 471 residents of long-term care facilities have died, and 358 of the state’s 375 facilities have reported positive cases, according to state health officials.
Since last month, the state has banned visitation, ordered universal masking and required that all facilities notify residents, family and staff of any outbreaks.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said this week that 123 facilities have been prohibited from admitting patients because they haven’t demonstrated they can effectively segregate COVID-19-infected residents from those who aren’t infected.
Persichilli said that in the last week, the state had distributed more than 100,000 N95 masks, nearly 700,000 surgical masks, 7,000 face shields and more than 700,000 gloves to long-term facilities.
Still, state health officials have declined to name nursing homes where residents have died, with one exception last month when they ordered the closure of St. Joseph’s Senior Home in Woodbridge after staff illnesses left the facility unable to care for residents. More than 90 residents were moved to another facility.
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