Gov. Phil Murphy wants long-term care facilities that did not heed the state's advice to separate staff and residents to "pay a price" for contributing to the high number of coronavirus deaths.

The governor was asked during CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday about the state’s high number of deaths at long-term care facilities, for which he’s been criticized by Republicans. Murphy repeated that state regulations required the facilities to keep COVID-19 patients in their own wing or building with separate staff. He did not specify what the penalty would be for the facilities that did not follow the state's orders.

Murphy has defended the state's handling of long-term facilities, and did so again during Monday's coronavirus briefing.

"Our record is crystal clear about the steps we've taken. Does that mean that every operator did the right thing? My fear is that some did not do it," Murphy said, referring to facilities that did not follow the state's orders or asked for help when they had no specific location for readmitting COVID-19 patients.

Murphy also repeated that the high death rate was because the state, country and world were "clobbered" by coronavirus.

"Here's something we can all agree on: we got clobbered," Murphy said. "Clobbered in long-term care. The country got clobbered. The world got clobbered and we mourn each and every one of those lives that have been lost and we can never, ever make any light of that."

According to the state, 7,933 long-term care facility residents and staff died because of coronavirus.

Murphy dismissed the significance of a hearing held Friday by Republicans who are critical of his handling of long-term care facilities, reiterating that the state started reporting probable deaths in June and hired an outside firm to assess the state's response.

"I don't want the facts to get in the way of some political stunt," Murphy deadpanned.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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