EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Here are the facts regarding the spread and fatality of COVID-19 in East Brunswick, with some explanation and context, as of May 29, 2020. East Brunswick Director of Emergency Management Austin Kosik says that he has a "moderate level of confidence" in the statistics that have been presented by a variety of government sources, though some pieces of information overlap.

*There are currently 655 reported cases of the virus among the residents of East Brunswick, says the New Jersey Department of Health's statistics posted by Middlesex County.

*The population of East Brunswick was 47,981 in 2018, with 21% of residents being over 62 years of age, according to the United States Census.

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*50 residents of East Brunswick have died from COVID-19.  

*Of the 50 residents, 30 were residents or patients in a care facility or senior residence. (60%)

*22 deaths occurred at the Care One Rehabilitation Center; 6 at the Chelsea Residence, and 2 at Sunrise Assisted Living.

*The higher number of deaths at Care One is the result of local hospitals having placed some patients into acute care at that facility.  Some patients had tested positive for the virus but had not shown symptoms.  Because of their age, they were moved to East Brunswick for care, where some succumbed to COVID-19.  "The deceased patients were not necessarily East Brunswick residents, yet they appear as part of our local statistic," said Mayor Brad Cohen.  "Early on," said Cohen, "Long-term and rehabilitation facilities were 'behind the 8-Ball' with regard to how to provide the best care for patients with the virus. They were short on PPE and were re-using masks.  Since then, a great deal has been done to rectify that situation." Director of Emergency Management Austin Kosik said, "Care One has been doing an amazing job in dealing with this crisis as it evolves. They have used their physical space effectively. There is no lack of professionalism or abuse occurring at any facility in East Brunswick.  We would have come down on that a long time ago."

*Some patients in long-term care had already signed a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order which means that measures like intubation -often an element in critical COVID-19 care -would not be used with those patients.  "It is difficult to say whether a person died from COVID-19 or with COVID-19," said Kosik.  He indicated cases of elderly patients who already presented severe health problems like stage-4 cancer who were then impacted by symptoms of the virus. They did not necessarily die from COVID-19, but the virus exacerbated existing problems and hastened their deaths.

*Chelsea and Sunrise are residences, with patients having their own rooms, making isolation somewhat easier.  Residents at these facilities are counted as citizens of East Brunswick.  It is possible, however, that these locations may take on some recovered patients as they leave hospitals, according to Cohen.

For context...

*There are 15,852 total reported cases of the COVID-19 in Middlesex County.  That number reflects people who have been tested and found positive.  It does not include asymptomatic people who may be carrying the virus. In 2019, there were 825,062 residents of Middlesex, making it the second-most populated county in New Jersey.  The population of Middlesex County is almost the same as that of the entire state of Wyoming.

*Since reporting on the virus began, 998 people have died from COVID-19 in this county.