BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Twenty residents of Berkeley Heights have died from complications caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 since the onset, with the total number of cases in the township increasing to 128. There are 40 active cases, 29 of those from long-term-care (LTC) facilities.
"We lost two members of our community at-large and two residents of LTCs," Mayor Angie Devanney reported on Sunday. "This never is easy. In fact, it is sobering. The effects of the passing of members of our Berkeley Heights family due to Covid-19 is devastating for everyone."
"The residents from our community were in their 50s and 80s. Please pray for their families and friends. The unexpected loss is heart wrenching," said Devanney. The residents from the long term care facilities were in their 70s and 90s. "Again, our thoughts and love go out to those families and friends as well this evening," she said.
The number of COVID-19 related deaths continues to climb, with 372 reported in Union County on Sunday, increasing by 16 overnight, and 4,202 in New Jersey, up from 4,070 on Saturday, according to the New Jersey Covid-19 Dashboard.
There are 9,609 cases in Union County, according to statistics provided by the New Jersey Covid-19 Dashboard on Sunday afternoon, an increase of 643 overnight.
The State of New Jersey Department of Health reported on Sunday, they are doing unannounced visits at LTC facilities to check for deficiencies in operations. Those with deficiencies will be sited and follow-up visits will take place. They have identified 100 LTCs that will not be able to cohort (separate the infected from the non-infected) patients. As a result, the State has identified 300 beds where infected patients can be moved while they recuperate. Additionally, the State has contracted with hotels for patients and healthcare workers who are positive and cannot self-isolate.
The LTC facilities within the Township of Berkeley Heights are privately owned and have no obligation to work and cooperate with our local government. "So, we are fortunate that the LTCs and the OEM coordinator meet/speak daily to discuss operations in accords with Commissioner Persichilli's directives, fulfill PPE requests, ensure that the Governor's Executive orders are followed, and make requests to County OEM as needed," said Devanney.
Devanney said, "The public health nurse and/or public health officer also contacts the facilities and performs daily checks obtaining medical information and performing contact investigations for patients and staff."