N.J. governor deploys National Guard to help long-term care facilities

For the second time since the beginning of the pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy has deployed the National Guard to help long-term care facilities with staffing.

About 150 soldiers and airmen from the New Jersey National Guard are preparing to support staffing requirements at more than a dozen long-term care facilities around the state. Guard members will assist regular staff with a variety of tasks, including administrative and logistical support.

“Time and time again, the New Jersey National Guard has stepped up to the plate throughout this pandemic,” Murphy said. “This deployment will send members of our National Guard to long-term care facilities with staffing needs and will act to protect the health and safety of long-term-care residents while the Omicron variant surges throughout the nation.”

National Guard members are undergoing training and work is anticipated to start at their assigned locations on Monday, Jan. 10. Tasks that National Guard members will assist with will include: Assisting residents with getting from beds to chairs, assistance in dressing and daily hygiene activities, meal set-up and feeding, and testing and screening staff, residents, and visitors for COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is still a threat to our New Jersey communities,” said Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner Brig. Gen. Lisa Hou. “The soldiers and airmen of the New Jersey National Guard are working hard every day to protect public health.”

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli acknowledged that COVID-19 cases and outbreaks have been rising for several weeks in long-term care facilities in the state, and said state officials will continue to work closely with long-term care facilities to ensure that they have the staff they need.