MENLO PARK, NJ – It’s all based on science says New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, but a bombshell story in today’s Bergen Record reveals that the Murphy administration blocked healthcare workers from wearing PPE and facemasks in the early days of the pandemic because of “supply shortages”.
Governor Murphy’s staff coined the term “mask insubordination” and they asked for guidance on how to punish healthcare workers who wanted to cover their faces while working with sick COVID-19 patients. In late March, the administration was discussing how to discipline workers at the veteran’s homes who dared mask up in the early days of the outbreak.
“Can you give me a call at some point today, I received guidance from the Gov’s Office of employee relations,” wrote Jared Doherty, a worker at the state-managed facilities. “We are going to start progressive discipline for mask insubordination. First offense oral counseling, second written warning, third Official reprimand, Fourth suspension.”
That letter was sent to Scott Mueller, Kamal Kovacs and Elizabeth Schiff-Heedles on March 27th. It came days after the Murphy administration ordered those homes to take back COVID-19 patients sent to the hospital.
Workers defied state orders and wore their own masks to work, despite the threat of being reprimanded and suspended at the workplace. By then many of the residents of the home were experiencing COVID-like symptoms. On March 30th, Persichilli changed course and ordered state run care facility workers to wear masks. 81 residents were confirmed dead at the Paramus facility and 63 in Menlo Park. Later, Murphy said 63 other patients most likely died at those two facilities.