A significant number of local COVID-19-related deaths have originated in long-term-care facilities. The county government says it will audit and inspect them, and will report on conditions there in more detail.
By Matt Skoufalos | April 17, 2020
Another 86 Camden County residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Camden County government reported Friday, bringing the local total to 1,808 confirmed cases.
Statewide, 78,467 residents have tested positive for the virus, and 3,840 have perished from COVID-19-related symptoms.
By Thursday, the number of COVID-19-related deaths in Camden County had doubled within the week, to a total of 58.
On Friday, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli announced that 48 of those deaths have originated in 14 long-term care facilities within the county, accounting for 83 percent of local deaths related to the virus.
In a statement, Camden County Freeholder-Director Lou Cappelli said he was “horrified by the loss of life that has occurred in these institutions, and will be working with them to confront the spread of the virus head on.”
Cappelli’s statement challenged Persichilli’s count, saying the Camden County Medical Examiner certified 35 long-term-care-facility residents as having perished from COVID-19-related symptoms, “a number that is unacceptable and cannot continue to grow.
“These facilities, across the board, were severely underprepared for the outbreak, and in many ways have suffered like so many other segments of the healthcare industry,” Cappelli said.
“It’s clear through our initial audits these facilities have a lack of testing, or no testing at all, a shortage of PPEs (personal protective equipment) and staffing shortfalls across the board,” he said, echoing statements from state health officials throughout the pandemic.
“This week the department took over random inspections of our 56 long-term care facilities (LTCs) from the state of New Jersey in order to audit and inspect operations that have at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19,” Cappelli said.
“At this juncture, we have completed several inspections, and the county Office of Emergency Management has also delivered thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to these facilities,” he said.
“Moving forward, the county will now provide daily updates on COVID-19-confirmed cases of staff and residents, and deaths in our long-term care facilities,” Cappelli said.
“The spread of this insidious virus is hard to stop in these high-density facilities, but the county health team will go above and beyond to strengthen LTCs and make them safer.”
The newest cases are:
- a Barrington woman in her 30s
- a Bellmawr man in his 50s
- 19 Camden City women, five in their 30s, four each in their 40s and 60s, three in their 50s, two in their 20s, and one in her teens; and 15 men, six in their 30s, three in their 40s, two each in their 20s and 50s, and one each in his 60s and 70s
- five Cherry Hill women, three in their 30s and one each in her 20s and 60s; and three men, one each in his 30s, 50s, and 80s
- a Clementon man and woman, both in their 30s
- a Gloucester City woman in her 50s
- five Gloucester Township women, two in their 50s, and one each in her teens, 20s, and 40s; and three men, two in their 40s and one in his 30s
- two Haddonfield men, one each in his 20s and 50s
- a Haddon Township woman in her 80s
- a Lawnside man in his 50s
- a Lindenwold woman in her 40s
- a Magnolia man in his 70s
- four Pennsauken women, two each in their 20s and 60s, and a man in his 20s
- a Pine Hill man in his 40s
- a Somerdale woman in her 50s
- a Stratford man in his 30s
- 11 Voorhees women, six in their 70s, two in their 20s, and one each in her 60s, 80s, and 90s; and three men, one each in his 60s, 70s, and 90s
- two Winslow Township men, one each in his 30s and 50s
- a Woodlynne woman in her 40s