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Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi continues to follow up on the adenovirus outbreak at the Wanaque facility

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Rivervale NJ, Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi continues to follow up on the adenovirus outbreak at the Wanaque facility.

On her Facebook page she says , “Early this morning I had a conference call with the New Jersey Commissioner of Health. Another child has died due to the adenovirus outbreak at the Wanaque facility bringing the total number of deaths to 11 and total number of infections to 34. The infection rate is now at approximately 75% of all children in that unit. There are many unanswered questions as to the sanitary practices of the facility leading up to this heartbreaking disaster. All remaining children are being separated within the facility to ensure no additional infections. The Commissioner has agreed to sit down in person and discuss necessary legislative solutions to ensure that a situation like this never happens again. It is unconscionable that patients are still becoming infected as recently as four days ago.

My office is available at any time to provide assistance to any families who have loved ones at this facility. Please reach out if you need anything. or (201) 666-0881.
NJDOH confirms 11th Pediatric Death Of Wanaque Patient; Commissioner Requests MRC Volunteers to Speed Up Separation of Patients
A severely ill child with a confirmed case of adenovirus died last night in a North Jersey hospital. The child had been a resident of the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell and was among 34 pediatric adenovirus cases that have been associated with the current outbreak, including a total of 11 deaths.
“The grief from the loss of a child is overwhelming and we extend our deepest sympathies to this family and all of the families who have had to endure these terrible losses,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal.

At the direction of the Commissioner, the Department yesterday put out a statewide call for members of the New Jersey Medical Reserve Corp. (NJMRC) to assist the facility in separating ill from asymptomatic patients. The Department requested volunteer Respiratory Therapists holding active licenses to assist with pediatric care. In addition, the call also included nurses and nurse aides with experience caring for pediatric populations with chronic illnesses.
“DOH called for MRC volunteers as of yesterday afternoon,” added Commissioner Elnahal. “Several logistical matters, including reporting structure, are still being finalized. That information will be delivered to the MRC as it is available.”

As a result of a continuously decreasing census, the facility now has sufficient space to be able to separate patients. In light of this, the Department is requiring the Wanaque Center to complete separation of the pediatric respiratory patients by Wednesday, Nov. 21.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health took enforcement action against the Wanaque Center, prohibiting new admissions to the entire facility and requiring it to hire a certified Infection Control Practitioner (ICP) and a Department-approved physician or physician practice with board certification in infectious disease. That decision came as a result of serious infection control deficiencies cited in ongoing inspections.

The curtailment of admissions to the pediatric respiratory unit will remain in effect until Wanaque satisfies the Department’s directive that it separates pediatric residents without symptoms from those who have the virus, including grouping children by lab test status and symptoms. As part of the enforcement action, the Department must approve any requests to re-admit former pediatric respiratory residents.

The children associated with the outbreak became ill between Sept. 26 and Nov. 12 and have severely compromised immune systems. An additional positive adenovirus case was confirmed late last night. One staff member was also confirmed with the virus but has since recovered.

Per the Department’s directive, separation of pediatric residents in the respiratory unit is ongoing and several patients have already been relocated. The Department is working closely with the facility, federal and local health officials to conduct respiratory illness surveillance.

A Department of Health Communicable Disease Service staff member is on site at the facility. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is assisting with lab testing and expertise. Federal and state inspection teams have also been on site on multiple occasions.

While the directive to separate patients moving forward will ensure that Wanaque is a safer environment for children in the future, containing the current outbreak remains a challenge of infection control—requiring that every staff member, for every patient, is following all protocols. That work is ongoing.

The NJMRC is a network of community-based, locally organized units comprised of nearly 5,000 volunteers who stand ready to deploy assist with public health emergencies. In addition to Health Professional volunteers, such as doctors, nurses, Emergency Medical Technicians or EMTs, therapists, dentists, counselors, and veterinarians, who can provide clinical services, the corp. also includes community health volunteers. Community Health volunteers serve a variety of important functions including reception and clerical services, information technology, language translation, assistance to disabilities and access and functional needs individuals, hospitality, food services, and security.

The strain of adenovirus that has sickened so many children at Wanaque is a type (#7) that is common to communal settings such as nursing homes and military bases. It is known to cause severe illness. These immune-compromised children are not eligible for the vaccine that was developed for this strain of the virus.

Adenovirus has an incubation period of two to 14 days, meaning that symptoms typically appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. The Department will not consider the outbreak over until four weeks after the last illness onset., which is Nov. 12. “

2 thoughts on “Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi continues to follow up on the adenovirus outbreak at the Wanaque facility

  1. Holly continues to fantasize she could be the next Governor.

  2. The federal government should step in and shut the place down immediately. They should put a dome over the whole place and fumigate it. I feel sorry for people that work there.

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