After Anonymous Tip, 17 Bodies Found at Nursing Home Hit by Virus

The Four Percent

[The latest: 29 Dead at One Nursing Home From the Virus. Or More. No One Will Say.]

The call for body bags came late Saturday.

By Monday, the police in a small New Jersey town had gotten an anonymous tip about a body being stored in a shed outside one of the state’s largest nursing homes.

When the police arrived, the corpse had been removed from the shed, but they discovered 17 bodies piled inside the nursing home in a small morgue intended to hold no more than four people.

“They were just overwhelmed by the amount of people who were expiring,” said Eric C. Danielson, the police chief in Andover, a small township in Sussex County, the state’s northernmost county.

Mr. Murphy said on Wednesday that once the threat of the pandemic passes, New Jersey must take a hard look at what went wrong.

“It’s pretty clear that a big weakness in the system, and in reality, is long-term care facilities,” he said.

Chief Danielson said law enforcement officials visited the facility, unannounced, at about 2 a.m. on Easter Sunday. They dropped off 25 body bags that had been requested and did a brief site inspection.

At that time, there were five bodies in the morgue, he said.

Thirteen of the 17 bodies discovered on Monday at the Andover facility were moved to a refrigerated truck outside a hospital in nearby Newton, Chief Danielson said. A funeral home had made arrangements to pick up the other four.

He said he was not entirely surprised by the number of bodies discovered.

“I don’t know if I’m shocked by any means,” he said.

Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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