BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township has released information on how the long-term care facilities in town are faring during the pandemic.
According to the release, Bridgewater has 10 long-term care facilities, accounting for more than a quarter of all the facilities in Somerset County.
Of the 57 residents who have died from COVID-19 in Bridgewater, the information said, 78 percent of them lived in or were connected to the long-term care facilities. Bridgewater Township health officials count only confirmed deaths from COVID, those who were confirmed to have had the virus.
"As you can see from the data we publish – and as sadly proven true in every country throughout the world – the elderly are especially vulnerable to this disease, especially when living in close quarters," Bridgewater health officer Kevin Sumner said in the release. "The fact is as tragic as it is inescapable, based on the data I have available to me."
According to the release, Bridgewater government and health officials do not have access to testing resources to assist facilities, but the state health commissioner has directed all long-term care facilities in the state to conduct universal testing, including of residents and staff.
Bridgewater officials are regularly in communication with the leadership of the facilities to make sure they have the assistance they need to request patient information.
For those seniors living outside these facilities, Bridgewater Health Educator Tiffany Neal offered advice for keeping them and the at-risk population safe.
"Stay home as much as possible," she said. "Take advantage of every grocery delivery and other services to avoid going out into the community. This will help keep you safe by limiting your contact with other people who may be contagious without even realizing it."