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Laboratory tests confirmed the four additional cases of adenovirus, bringing the number of those affected to 23.
Scott Fallon, Staff Writer, @NewsFallon

HASKELL, NJ – The long-term nursing home, where seven severely debilitated children died this month from a rapidly spreading virus, was unable to quarantine the knit-battered children and five other children were diagnosed with respiratory disease Infection Thursday and Friday, state officials announced.

The 227-bed Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation did not have enough room to isolate the children when placed in the ventilator unit New Jersey State Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said the adenovirus outbreak has now made 23 children sick.

All the children had ventilators and a compromised immune system, and they tried to quarantine them all Elnahal said,

"There was no place (in the center) where they could have been safely placed can, "he said.

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The Wanaque Center is approved for 92 children and 135 adults and can accommodate more than 60 children Worries rely on ventilators to breathe.

The cause of the outbreak and how the virus spreads so rapidly among the children remains unknown, Elnahal said.

"I have seen breath bursts before, but I have not seen it in such a vulnerable patient group," said Elnahal, who had previously worked for the Federal Veterans Affairs Office. "This is the worst (kind of) setup where this could have happened, even if you have a facility that does everything possible to prevent it."

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He would not say how critical the 16 surviving children are or if they have completely recovered.

A team of investigators and observers from the Department of Health of New Jersey remained at the center on Thursday, about 40 kilometers northwest of New York City. The facility has been ruled out from accepting new patients until the outbreak is declared over, which is likely to take at least four weeks, Elnahal said.

Wanaque Center representatives would not address several issues related to the outbreak:

  • When employees recognized a significant problem.
  • How They Responded to the Outbreak
  • Why government inspectors repeatedly found deficiencies in poor patient care and unsanitary practices that could contribute to the spread of infections.
  • What the officials of the center did in response to criticism from unions representing nurses and other workers because of "staff shortages, lack of adequate supplies and drastic cuts in labor standards"

The private, profit-oriented Owner of the Wanaque Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, has a Philadelphia-based public relations agency to ask questions about the outbreak. The agency released a statement on Thursday by the center's administrator, Rowena Bautista, expressing her sympathy for the families of the deceased.

The Nursing Home Offers Mourning Recommendations to Employees, Patients, and Families,

"We work side by side with medical experts from the Department of Health (New Jersey) and the CDC and will be in constant contact with them until this issue is completely resolved said in the statement referring to the federal centers for disease control and prevention

state investigators have found no violations of personnel at the center, Elnahal said

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The five additional children suffering from adenovirus, a common virus that causes mild illnesses such as colds and coughs in healthy people, but can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems , all showed symptoms before Monday, officials said. A laboratory confirmed the adenovirus diagnoses Thursday and Friday.

All children with confirmed cases fell ill between September 26 and Monday. Civil servants would not publish any additional information about their cases, citing the patients' privacy policy.

The outbreak is limited to the ventilator unit in the middle, which serves patients who need mechanical support to breathe.

"I've seen breaths before, but I have not seen it in such a vulnerable group of patients" This is the worst kind of thing that could have happened. "

– Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Health Commissioner in New Jersey

As of Wednesday, the Wanaque Center had 49 children in the respiratory unit, which is approved for 72 children, health officials said, and another 20 are available for older children in another area.

The first case Adenovirus patient was diagnosed on September 26. The State Department of Health was notified of a "cluster of respiratory diseases" on October 9 after the closure of the office.

Civil servants The next morning, surveillance began at the facility Death dates listed for a child, except for the seventh victim who died on Tuesday night.

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Health officials conducted a surprise inspection this weekend and found "small hand wash duds." Long-term care benefits were cited from 2015 to 2018 in annual government reports for cases of poor patient care and unsanitary practices that could spread infections.

Elnahal described the recent citations in August as low-level violations pose no risk to patients. They were corrected when the department completed the surprise inspection on Sunday

Follow Scott Fallon on Twitter: @NewsFallon

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