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Legislation that would require long term care facilities to develop an outbreak response plan, cleared a Senate committee Monday.  Bill sponsor Senator Joe Vitale says when eleven children passed away at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation last year, New Jersey was stunned. He says the only responsible way to react to a tragedy like this is take action that will prevent it from happening again.

The bill, S-3900, would require long-term care facilities to develop outbreak response plans within 180 days of the effective date of the bill. Long-term care facilities that provide care to ventilator-dependent residents would be required to submit their plans to the Department of Health.

The plans would be developed in consultation with the facilities’ infection control committees, as applicable, and would be facility-specific. The outbreak response plans would be required to follow national standards and would include protocols for isolating infected and at risk residents until the cessation of the outbreak, policies regarding the notification of residents, families, visitors, and staff in the event of an outbreak, and information regarding the availability of laboratory testing.

The bill is in response to an Adenovirus 7 outbreak at Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation (Wanaque) in the fall of 2018. Eleven children passed away and dozens more were infected.