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Coronavirus In NJ Nursing Homes: Timeline Shows Fast COVID-19 Spike With 1,500 Elderly Dead

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - In New Jersey, the death toll of people dying from coronavirus-related illness in long-term care facilities continues to rise.

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli shared the number of senior living facilities plagued by coronavirus on April 2, reports CBS2's Cory James.

"At this point, 110 of our long-term care facilities in the state have reported at least one COVID-19 case," she said.

Five days later - on Tuesday, April 7 - the depth of the problem became more clear. CBS2 learned many facilities did not have sufficient resources or sufficient staff to take care of their patients.

"We have to develop a statewide plan to assist the nursing homes experiencing outbreaks," she said.

MORE: Officials Outraged More Than A Dozen Bodies Of COVID-19 Dead 'Allowed To Pile Up' At Nursing Home

Now fast-forward three days to April 10 when that plan of action was announced.

"We are going through every 375 of the homes to determine if they can cohort appropriately," said Persichilli.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It's been a week since that plan was executed and the state death toll for long-term care facilities is now more than 1,500.

A number of those cases happened in Congressman Josh Gottheimer's district.

"The real question is, are they following the plans? The stories I'm hearing when my constituents call in who have loved one there or from the staff, it doesn't seem like all of these facilities are following the plans."

Tara Leifer Clevens believes that plan is not being followed at Atrium in Livingston, N.J., where she says her 76-year-old mother contracted COVID-19 and later died.

Clevens recalls a conversation with an employee.

"She told me there was three other active COVID-19 patients on the third floor where the nursing staff was mixing in with regular staff and that is how the disease is spreading," she said.

Atrium denies that claim and says staff is following CDC guidelines.

As for the plan Persichilli put in place one week ago, CBS2 requested an interview with her to discuss that. We also sent specific questions including how many facilities has the state visited and helped since last Friday.

So far, there has been no response.

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