Entire senior home in New Jersey, 94 people, presumed to have coronavirus

St. Joseph’s Senior Nursing Home in Woodbridge already has 24 people who tested positive, with 70 more expected to also test positive.
A resident of St. Joseph's Senior Nursing Home in Woodbridge, New Jersey, being moved to another facility for treatment.
A resident of St. Joseph's Senior Nursing Home in Woodbridge, New Jersey, being moved to another facility for treatment.NBC 4 New York

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By David K. Li

An entire New Jersey nursing home is presumed to be infected with coronavirus, forcing everyone from the facility to be evacuated on Wednesday, officials said.

At least 24 of 94 residents and patients of St. Joseph’s Senior Home in Woodbridge, about 20 miles south of Newark, have tested positive for coronavirus and the other 70 clients are also believed to have the virus, authorities said.

The first positive came back on March 17 and at least one positive test has come back "everyday thereafter," said John Hagerty, a spokesman for the city of Woodbridge.

While not every patient has been tested, and not all results have returned yet, officials said they had no choice but to assume the worst.

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"This is the presumption," Hagerty told NBC News. "That all have been exposed and would be positive."

And several workers at St. Joseph's, including a nun, also tested positive, leaving staffing shortages that forced Wednesday's move, according to CareOne, which runs a chain of senior facilities in New Jersey.

All of the St. Joseph's patients and residents were taken to CareOne at Hanover, in Whippany, about 30 miles away, on Wednesday.

And to make room for the incoming St. Joseph's patients, all 61 people at CareOne had to be moved on Tuesday in a plan by developed state health authorities, a CareOne representative said Wednesday.

Thirty were transported to a CareOne facility in Morristown, 20 to Parsippany, 7 to Livingston and one more was hospitalized for a condition not related to the coronavirus, the CareOne rep.

"So (the St. Joseph's patients) tested positive, so they couldn't co-mingle" with the CareOne Hanover residents, the company rep said.

"The (CareOne) families were understanding. Certainly it was an inconvenience, but this is a national health emergency."

Matthew Johnson contributed.