Only four seniors test positive for COVID-19 in North Bergen housing

More than 600 people were tested in five senior housing buildings

A resident of a North Bergen senior housing building is tested for COVID-19.
×
A resident of a North Bergen senior housing building is tested for COVID-19.

The North Bergen Housing Authority (NBHA) has received all the results back from the COVID-19 testing that was administered to all senior housing residents, according to the township.

Only four residents tested positive for COVID-19 out of over 600 seniors.

To curtail the spread of COVID-19 among the most at-risk population, North Bergen began testing all senior buildings in the township on May 11. The move comes after local nursing homes have been hit particularly hard by the virus.

In an interview with The Hudson Reporter, NBHA Nurse and Social Services Coordinator Jacqui Farley detailed the testing experience as many seniors were relieved to finally get tested after self-isolating for so long.

According to the township, the small number of cases among Housing Authority residents is a direct result of the proactive measures undertaken by Executive Director Gerald Sanzari to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The results that we have received from the North Bergen Health Department are incredibly satisfying,” said Sanzari. “Such a low number of positive cases proves that the measures that we have taken from the beginning of this crisis have saved lives and prevented the spread of the virus. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect our vulnerable populations.”

Testing began with the Terrace Apartment Building, when 152 residents were tested. Later in the week on May 13, NBHA tested 213 residents of Cullum Tower, moving floor by floor through the building to meet each resident individually at their own home. Next came the Renaissance Building followed by the Lawler Towers.

Hudson County hot spot

Hudson County as a whole has seen more positive COVID-19 cases than any county in the state, with over 17,000 positive cases thus far. North Bergen was declared a virus hotspot by Gov. Phil Murphy at the peak of the pandemic, as it saw a sharp increase in cases in a short time.

At the onset of this crisis, the NBHA put in place an action plan to cope with such a scenario which included social distancing measures, sanitation stations, and mandatory mask and glove wearing for all staff.

“The North Bergen Housing Authority has done a remarkable job keeping our seniors safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “Hudson County has been a hotbed for this virus, making the fact that only four residents tested positive in this batch of testing great news. I want to thank Director Sanzari and all NBHA staff for their outstanding work, which should serve as a model for public housing across the country.”

Additionally, NBHA staff distributed masks to every resident and partnered with the North Bergen Health Department to administer tests to every nursing home resident. Candy has also been distributed to the residents of the Township’s senior buildings, in an effort to lift spirits.

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.