One person died at a Cape May County long-term care facility where a novel coronavirus outbreak occurred, officials announced Tuesday.
The 86-year-old man was one of the more than two dozen people who tested positive for COVID-19 at Victoria Manor in Lower Township. He had underlying health conditions and was recently hospitalized, officials said.
The man is the first long-term care facility resident to have died from the novel coronavirus in Cape May County, New Jersey.
"We are deeply saddened today to learn that a fellow Cape May County resident died from COVID-19," Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton said. "Our deepest condolences and prayers to the family and loved ones during their time of mourning."
Officials said 15 residents and 12 staff members at Victoria Manor also tested positive for COVID-19.
"Public Health has been preparing for the possibility of outbreaks happening in skilled nursing facilities and other congregate care settings, and we have provided clear guidance for facilities in responding and controlling the spread of illness," Mary Tighe, Assistant Director of Public Health Nursing, said.
"We in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Health are working closely with the facilities now to protect residents and staff."
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
The CMCHD began investigating immediately after being notified of sickened staff and residents and began testing them. The CMCHD also helped deliver 400 surgical masks and 200 gowns after some of the tests came back positive.
Victoria Manor has 120 beds. The Health Department said the facility is following all CDC guidelines and recommendations to prevent the further spread of the virus.
"The situation is very serious, and we are deeply concerned about residents of our senior care facilities in Cape May County," Health Officer Kevin Thomas said. "That is why we need everyone to follow the stay-at-home order, social distancing guidance and other measures in recent health orders – to protect the people in our community who are vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19."
In all, Cape May County has at least 100 confirmed novel coronavirus cases and two deaths.