North Bergen to test all nursing homes as death toll spikes to 110

Of 110 deaths, 66 are nursing home residents

An elderly woman is examined by a doctor. Shutterstock.
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An elderly woman is examined by a doctor. Shutterstock.

As the COVID-19 pandemic hits nursing homes hard around the country, local hotspot North Bergen has been coping with the loss of more than a hundred residents. Many of those are residents living in township nursing homes.

According to the New Jersey Department of Health, North Bergen has 1,709 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 110 deaths as of April 22.

Sixty-six of those deaths, or 60 percent, have been confirmed by Health Department officials as residents of the township’s three long-term care facilities, including Hudson View, Hudson Hills, and the Harborage.

North Bergen announced on April 22 that, in partnership with the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, all residents of the township’s long-term care facilities will be tested for COVID-19.

“We would like to thank North Hudson Community Action Corporation for partnering with us to provide testing kits for our Long Term Care facilities,” Mayor Nicholas Sacco said. “Those facilities have been hit the hardest in our town by COVID-19.”

The expanded testing will enable township officials and the management at these facilities to protect those who have tested positive and limit exposure for those who have not.

“The tests will provide us with a better picture of how widespread the disease is, and we can then work closely with the management to determine the best course of action to protect the workers and patients alike at these facilities,” Sacco said.

Spike in death toll

Since the last time that North Bergen reported the number of residents who have died from COVID-19, that number has more than doubled. The township first released the death toll on April 8, counting 39 residents who died. Of the 39, 33 were from North Bergen nursing homes.

One of the other six was 24-year-old EMT Kevin Leiva who worked at Palisades Medical Center.

The jump from 39 reported deaths to 110 represents an increase of approximately 282 percent, or 71 additional deaths.

The large spike in deaths may be attributed to the time span between when the township receives data from the NJ Department of Health and when it reports it. The last release regarding the number of deaths was two weeks before the April 22 announcement.

North Bergen has taken numerous other actions at the direction of public health officials to limit the spread of the virus, all of which are accessible to residents on the township website’s dedicated COVID-19 Updates pages in both English and Spanish.

Residents should also follow the township’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which are updated multiple times per day.

For more information residents can call the NJ COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or visit covid19.nj.gov.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.