HACKENSACK, NJ – One day after a seventh child died of exposure to a virus at a long-term care center…
HACKENSACK, NJ – One day after a seventh child died of exposure to a virus at a long-term care center in Wanaque, New Jersey officials Wednesday had few answers to the cause of the outbreak and the parents raised questions about how the news
Parents and Trade unions representing nurses and other workers at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation said they were not informed about the severity of the outbreak until it was very late. The 18 affected patients, including the seven who died, were all children, the health department said.
Kristine Deleg, whose 1
6-year-old daughter Elizabeth Poulous, died on Tuesday morning after being injured with the adenovirus, said Wednesday that it was a heavy delay in communication.
Deleg said that Elizabeth was admitted to St. Joseph’s University Hospital Surgery in Paterson on October 3, but she was not told about the adenovirus outbreak until she received a letter from the plant on Monday, almost three weeks later. Elizabeth died the next day.
“It was definitely a breakdown in communication,” said Deleg. “When you are dealing with this kind of situation, and you are dealing with these children that are so fragile, then it’s something you have to do right away.”
.gov. Phil Murphy spoke at a press conference outside the center on Wednesday afternoon, saying: “We must clearly understand the communication here.”
Rosemarie McPartland in Bergenfield asked Murphy during the press conference to assure her that Matthew, a patient at the facility for 31 years, would be OK. The two had a private conversation, but McPartland said afterwards that she was still unhappy with the outbreak of the outbreak.
She said that she has not yet been notified by the Center’s staff about the outbreak. “I’m worried about the kids without voices,” said McPartland. “I’m here to talk to the kids without a voice.”
Rowena Bautista, the site administrator, did not respond to the request for comments Wednesday. Employees at the facility referred questions to Braithwaite Communications, a Philadelphia based marketing agency whose services include crisis communication. The company did not respond to calls or e-mail.
The plant is owned by a private company, Wanaque Nursing & Rehabilitation, whose officials are listed as Daniel Bruckstein and Eugene Ehrenfeld. The two are listed as officers in seven other care centers across New Jersey.
The plant has been forbidden from receiving new patients until the outbreak is declared over, said the department.
State Health Commissioner, Dr. Shereef Elnahal said the facility could not be closed, as few places in New Jersey are equipped to treat their patients, many of whom suffer from neuromuscular and respiratory problems caused by genetic syndrome, birth defects or addiction.
Adenoviruses are common viruses that affect the lining, intestines, eyes or urinary tract of the respiratory tract and are responsible for some colds, coughs, throat throat, pinkeye and diarrhea. Usually, the disease is weak, but they can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.
It may be “impossible or difficult to know” how the virus came to the plant, “said Elnahal at the press conference.
The first case of a patient with adenovirus was noted on September 26, Elnahal said. The health department was notified of respiratory diseases at the center, in the Haskell part of the city, October 9 after the office was closed for the day. Health officials began the monitoring work at the plant the next morning.
State officials did not give specific dates for the death except the seventh victim, who died on Tuesday night.
Health officers performed a surprise check over the weekend, as they found “less hand wash deficiencies,” the health department said in a statement.
The facility has been cited for cases of poor patient care and healthcare that can spread infection in annual reports from 2015 to 2018 by government inspectors.
Elnahal said it was rare for any facility to come from an inspection without quotes and said those who received the Wanaque Center in 2018 were “low level”.
Two trade unions representing nurses and other healthcare staff at the profit center criticized their management and ownership for poor working conditions.
“Since the new profit-driven ownership took over at the Wanaque Center 2014, rkers has expressed serious concern about worsening staff levels, lack of adequate deliveries and severe cuts to labor standards,” said Ron McCalla, VP of 1199SEIU, representing 136 workers at the plant
State Secretary Gerry Cardinale, Assemblyman Holly Schepisi and Assemblyman Robert Auth, representing the area where the facility is located, must state officials make sure that something like this never happens again.
“This fatal viral outbreak was obviously a preventable tragedy , and government officials must take immediate action to deliver justice to families who are forced to count on every parent’s worst nightmare – the loss of a child, “said the three Republicans in a statement.
The outbreak has been limited to the ventilation unit that holds patients need mechanical st desire to breathe, said Elnahal.
From Wednesday, Wanaque Center had 49 children in the ventilator, licensed for 72 children, said Donna Leusner, a spokesman for the health department. An additional 20 beds are available for older children in another area, she said.
Wanaque Center is licensed to accommodate 135 adults and 92 children.
McPartland said the center has always been clean and the staff are nice for three decades, she has visited her stepon Matthew, who suffered a brain injury in a car accident on Route 80 when he was a child.
“I feel terrible that this happens,” said McPartland. “I love the staff, but something is wrong today.”
Behind power lines and protected by trees, the center is relatively isolated from its lively surroundings on Ringwood Avenue near Route 287.
Those living or working nearby expressed sympathy for the children’s families. “It’s a pity,” Mike Borer said in Westwood, interviewed at a band mall on Ringwood Avenue near the city center. “They just start their lives.”
© 2018 The Record (Hackensack, NJ)  GRAPHIC (For help with images, contact 312- 222-4194): 20181024 Adenovirus