A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the long-term care facility that became so overwhelmed by the number of COVID-19 deaths that staff resorted to stacking bodies in a room.

The Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center's adjoining facilities in Sussex County have a total of 254 cofirmed positive cases among its patients and 76 reported COVID-19 deaths, according to the state Department of Health data as of Monday, the most of any facility in the state.

Deaths at long-term care facilities make up over half the COVID-19 deaths in the state.

The lawsuit filed on April 27 states "83 plus other patients were infected and died" at the facility.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which inspects nursing homes, said in a report earlier this month that the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation II facility failed to follow proper infection control and that its non-compliance "has caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury, harm impairment or death to residents.”

The National Guard has sent at least 24 guardsmen to help with non-medical tasks, according to state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.

Federal officials have issued a quarter million dollars in fines against Mutty Scheinbaum, the owner of the facilities.

Bernard and Dante Maglioli, the sons of 85-year-old Joseph Maglioli, who died at the facility on April 9, have filed a lawsuit  against Scheinbaum and his company, Alliance Healthcare based in Lakewood, claiming gross negligence, wrongful death and medical malpractice.

The lawsuit claims that the facility was aware of the coming pandemic in February but "failed to take the proper steps to protect the residents and/or patients at their facilities."

Only registered nurses were give masks but not others who interacted with patients including housekeepers, recreation therapists and nursing assistants, according to the lawsuit.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law on April 14 that provides civil and criminal immunity to certain health care professionals and health care facilities during public health and states of emergency. The law is retroactive to March 9.

The owner of the facilities this month said that staff had made "progress" in improving safety at the nursing homes.

"The number of virus-related deaths at the facility has dropped precipitously and is now down by approximately 90 percent as compared to the height of the pandemic," he said in a written statement after federal officials issued their fine. "Dozens of staff who were in quarantine have been able to return to work and the workforce is at full strength with a team of new consultants and other professionals on board to help us through this crisis."

Michael Symons contributed to this report.

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

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