HASKELL, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The New Jersey Department of Health announced Sunday morning that a ninth child has died as a result of an outbreak of adenovirus at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
The health department said the child was one of the 25 previously confirmed cases of the virus.
“This is a tragic situation, and our thoughts are with the families who are grieving right now,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a press release. “We are working every day to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed and closely monitoring the situation at the facility.”
Despite the state’s assurances that they’re trying to limit exposure, CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke exclusively to a patient who described the grisly conditions he says he encountered at the Wanaque center.
Eugene Dorio says he went through eight weeks of hell while living at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
“There’s just no compassion, ya know?” the 66-year-old diabetic said.
“It was really dirty, they didn’t really take care of me,” he said. “It was like I had to wait for another shift to come in another two hours to change me, and this went on daily.”
Dorio says he visited the pediatric unit, where the medically fragile children lived, about once a week. He says they always seemed to be sick.
The former patient added the center would sometimes smell of urine or feces, something the staff would blame on patients’ bodily functions.
“Well that’s your job,” Dorio says. “Clean it up and get rid of the smell.”
Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation has pushed back against the former patient’s claims, citing its record of being ranked in the top ten percent of nursing facilities in the U.S.
Adenovirus is a respiratory virus which can sometimes cause serious illness. Symptoms can include developing a cold, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and pink eye. Bladder infections, inflammation of the stomach or intestines, and neurological diseases have also been linked to the virus.
The facility is not admitting any new patients while the outbreak is still being dealt with.