As concern continues about the strain on New Jersey's hospital system and nursing homes as a result of COVID-19, two companies that run long-term care facilities have offered to help by taking overflow patients.

The state Department of Health reported that there are more than 9,000 cases of COVID-19 at 394 long-term care facilities and 1,530 reported deaths at the facilities.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday called for an investigation by the state Attorney General's Office into facilities with a "disproportionate" number of fatalities after police in Andover Township this week found 17 bodies piled at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center. The facility has 26 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 as of Thursday.

Genesis HealthCare said that it converted its PowerBack Rehabilitation short-term care facility in Piscataway to a partial COVID-19 post-acute care center to take on overflow from hospitals.

Patients on the third floor of PowerBack who were able to be safely discharged were sent home or to another facility to continue their care. The second floor remains unchanged.

A spokeswoman for PowerBack said the facility has taken 37 COVID-19 patients.

Dr. John F. Bonamo, chief medical and quality officer for RWJ Barnabas Health, said he was grateful for the availability as they have patients ready for post-acute rehab but no place for them to go.

"PowerBack Rehabilitation will be key in helping us to open up needed hospital beds as the pandemic continues to expand in our community and state," Bonamo said in a written statement.

Alex Markowits, owner of Spring Hills Senior Communities, told his company is "answering the call" and offering the empty beds in the special COVID-19 wings at its Atrium Post-Acute Care buildings in Livingston and Woodbury. Markowits told that, if necessary, he would convert both to all COVID-19 facilities.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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