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Congressman Wants Investigation Into Andover Nursing Home Where Hundreds Of Residents, Staff Members Have COVID

ANDOVER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The Omicron variant is spreading quickly at a New Jersey nursing home.

It's the same nursing home where bodies were found stacked in makeshift morgues when the pandemic first hit.

It's like déjà vu for Chris Petry.

"When it was my dad, it was very personal," he said.

He first spoke to CBS2's Cory James last May when he joined a class action lawsuit suing an Andover Township long-term care home, where Petry says his 86-year-old father contracted COVID and later died because staff, he says, allowed the virus to spread.

"I know for a fact they didn't have PPE," Petry said.

Now, the New Jersey center Petry's father was staying at is in the spotlight again, this time for having the highest number of long-term care COVID patient cases in the state.

According to officials, the facility, which has changed its name to the Woodland Behavior and Nursing Center, has 213 residents with COVID and 114 staff members who are also infected.

"Jaw-dropping," Congressman Josh Gottheimer said.

Gottheimer wrote a letter requesting an update about what changes were made following a state inspection that unfolded after workers created a makeshift morgue by stacking 17 bodies in a room at the beginning of the pandemic.

"This was the worst facility in the state of New Jersey two years ago," he said. "How are they allowed to continue to operate after we know their failures?"

Attorney Daniel Marchese represents more than a dozen families who are taking legal action against the facility.

"They didn't learn their lessons," he said.

He has concerns about the governor sending the National Guard back to help.

"I think it might be window-dressing, and that's why, again, the call to shut it down, I think, is imperative," Marchese said.

Meanwhile, CBS2 tried calling one of the owners, but no one picked up.

However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told CBS2 Friday the agency "has received the letter from the congressman and will respond."

While 52% of residents at the facility have boosters, Gottheimer says when it comes to the staff, "As of yesterday, it was 0%. Now we're told it's 11%."

CBS2 reached out to management to confirm those numbers, but so far, we have not heard back.

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