CAMDEN, NJ — An 80-year-old Camden city woman died from complications linked to COVID-19 after contracting it from a home health aide who failed to self-isolate despite being instructed to do so.
The home health aide, Josefina Brito-Fernandez — also of Camden — was charged Thursday with five counts of endangering the welfare of the elderly patient.
"On April 16, Brito was not feeling well and went to the Camden COVID-19 testing site for testing," Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police said in a statement outlining COVID-19 violations last week. "She allegedly did not disclose this fact to the elderly person for whom she cared, or the patient’s family."
Even prior to her positive results coming back, Brito was reportedly told to self-isolate as she was known to have contact with an individual who had tested positive.
Regardless of the instructions, Brito reported to work at the patient's home on April 17 without wearing a facemask or other personal protection equipment (PPE) — despite directions by the employer to do so at all times.
"Brito allegedly can be seen on in-home video caring for her elderly patient by feeding her, giving her a sponge bath and taking her vital signs — all while not wearing PPE," according to the authorities.
Meantime, Brito additionally cared for two developmentally disabled siblings in the home, also without wearing PPE.
The elderly patient succumbed to the virus several days later following hospitalization.
Four other members of the household tested positive for COVID-19 as well.