State steps in to help St. Joseph’s Senior Home after rising number of positive COVID-19 cases

PHOTOS BY KATHY CHANG/STAFF

WOODBRIDGE – With the increasing number of reported positive COVID-19 cases over the past few days, the St. Joseph’s Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility became severely short-staffed as the staff was getting sick, according to information provided by CareOne.

Twenty-four of the 94 patients – which included caregivers – tested positive for COVID-19, and the other 70 patients are now presumptive positive, officials said.

The Morris County Office of Emergency Management began to transport the 94 residents from St. Joseph’s Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility to a CareOne facility in Whippany on March 25.

Woodbridge Mayor John E. McCormac, in his daily report to the public, said township officials were notified of the move on March 24. Along with the positive COVID-19 cases, he had reported one of the elderly patients from the nursing home – who tested positive for COVID-19 – had passed away from the virus at the hospital on March 21.

St. Joseph’s Senior Home has been operated by the Little Servant Sisters of the Immaculate Conception since 1981, according to its website. It is a non-profit Catholic healthcare community focused on offering a continuity of senior living.

Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey State Department of Health, led by Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli, reached out to CareOne for assistance in helping the St. Joseph’s Nursing Home and together they came up with a solution, according to officials.

CareOne has 32 locations across the state and offers a number of services – long-term care, assisted living and various specialty care services, according to its website.

The previous residents of the Whippany facility were moved on March 24 and dispersed to other nursing homes. CareOne nurses and staff worked through the night to assist the residents as they settled into new nursing homes and the facility was cleaned to start accepting the new patients, according to the information.

The COVID-19 positive patients will be separated from the presumptive patients at the new facility, according to CareOne officials.