N.J. coronavirus recovery: By-appointment visits to begin at some long-term care facilities

Parents and legal guardians of residents in long-term care facilities in New Jersey may soon visit by appointment. Officials have not yet released a timeline.

National Guard tends to COVID-19 patients

Soldiers from the National Guard tend to COVID-19 patients. (National Guard photo by Army Spc. Samuel D. Keenan)

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New Jersey reported another 396 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 176,278 since the start of the pandemic. The rate of transmission remains below 1.0, at 0.93.

Another 27 residents died from complications of the coronavirus, bringing the state’s total of confirmed coronavirus fatalities to 13,660, with 1,974 probable coronavirus fatalities.

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By-appointment visits to begin at some long-term care facilities

Gov. Phil Murphy announced that parents and legal guardians of pediatric, developmentally disabled or intellectually disabled residents in long-term care facilities may soon make indoor visits by appointment.

The state Department of Health is expected to release more information Wednesday about when those visits can begin.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the visits will be “a critical step for the physical, mental and emotional state” of residents.

All visitors will be screened and must follow protocols, including wearing a mask and temperature checks upon entry. While inside, visitors must remain in designated areas and maintain a six-foot distance from other residents and staff. Facilities must also have written guidelines in place.

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Outdoor visitations will continue per the governor’s earlier directive.

Officials plan app to enforce travel advisory

On Wednesday, Murphy updated the state’s travel advisory to include travelers coming from Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin. People from those states will now be required to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in New Jersey.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania recently removed Delaware from that list.

It’s still unclear how officials are enforcing the travel advisory, but Murphy has put an emphasis on personal responsibility.

“I would love to be able to stop people and turn them around at our borders,” he said.

New Jersey is working on technology to track travelers from out of state, similar to questionnaires that New York is currently using at airports for travelers coming from states on the list.

Out-of-state travelers to New Jersey will soon be able to self-report through a phone app that they will be asked to download when they disembark at the airport. The app, which Persichilli said is “almost complete,” will include a short questionnaire on where the traveler has been and how to reach them. The app is not yet available to download.

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