RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The coronavirus continues to plague long-term care facilities that still are falling short of resources to help patients and residents.

CBS2’s Cory James spoke with a woman who says she was forced to leave to fight for her life.

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“What was your biggest fear while you were there?” James asked.

“That I would die,” said Judy Schlanger, who’s battling COVID-19.


Schlanger, 66, spoke about her experience at Atrium Senior Living home in Park Ridge, a place Schlanger told CBS2 she left last Monday because of alleged neglect during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Anything to sustain me, I was not getting,” she said. “As the days went by, there were fewer and fewer staff there… I kept coughing up phlegm. It was an awful experience.”

Schlanger says that experience lasted for two weeks, which is when she called her husband for help.

“I said ‘Get an ambulance and take me to Valley Hospital.’ By the time I got here, I had both COVID and pneumonia,” Schlanger said.

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Atrium was unable to provide someone for us to speak on camera, but said it is working to maintain staffing with an agency, and has additional PPE supplies to keep residents and teams safe.

CBS2 has also made repeated attempts to speak with Governor Phil Murphy or someone from his office about what is being done to help assisted nursing and senior living facilities. So far that that request has not been approved.

Schlanger’s husband, Steve Gonzalez, thinks the best solution is to do what was done for a VA hospital in Paramus.

“They sent the National Guard there, and I think that’s what they should do with the Atrium. Get them the help they need,” Gonzalez said.

Meantime, Schlanger is thankful for one thing.

“I’m thankful for my life. I really am, I’m thankful for my life,” she said.

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And she hopes more seniors will be able to say the same once resources arrive.