Coronavirus News: Nursing home families in Tri-State feel helpless as death toll climbs

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Thousands of families are feeling helpless because they can't personally care for or see their loved ones in nursing homes throughout the Tri-State area.

Rosalind Jordan and her husband Brian are used to seeing their mother every day inside her New Jersey nursing home. They haven't been allowed to visit in more than a month.

"It's devastating, it's devastating," Rosalind Jordan said.

They have a hard time getting answers from the inside. When they finally got through to a nurse on Wednesday on the phone, they were told their mother was doing well.

"And then the next minute my mom calls, she tells me the aide told her she's positive for the virus and that's just ridiculous," she said.

Her mother was transferred to a COVID-19 unit with other positive patients but they don't know how many. They can't get answers they're looking for.

"These workers are doing the best that they can do, but it starts from the top," Brian Jordan said.

One of the first outbreaks in the country started at a nursing home in Washington more than a month ago.

State leaders in New Jersey and New York have said for weeks that nursing homes could be the hardest hit.

"I never heard a plan on what's the oversight on senior places, what are we going to do at least to get daily reports on what are the conditions," Brian Jordan said.

We've heard about emergency plans for hospitals including extra beds, front line workers and testing. But some families want to know why more hasn't been done to protect their loved ones and why some resources haven't been shifted to nursing homes.

"My mother calls and says 'I'm hungry, I'm cold, I don't have any water,'" Rosalind Jordan said. "What is it, solitary confinement?"

Her mother turns 88 next month. Her worst fear is having to plan a funeral and not a birthday celebration.

"They seem like they're being left behind, but these are the people who built this country," Brian Jordan said. "It's like they're old now and being forgotten, pushed aside, like pawns."

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