"When in doubt, we pull together," said Gov. Phil Murphy about how teams handled transferring the sick residents this week

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 26, 2020 10:16 AM

All the residents of one New Jersey nursing home are believed to have contracted the coronavirus.

In recent weeks, 24 people at St. Joseph’s Senior Nursing Home in Woodbridge have tested positive for COVID-19, according to USA Today. Additionally, a few caregivers at the facility have contracted the virus. Given the facility’s exposure, officials believe all 94 residents are likely infected with the contagious coronavirus.

“This is the presumption, that all have been exposed and would be positive,” John Hagerty, a spokesperson for the City of Woodbridge told NBC News.

Since some of the nursing home’s employees are recovering from the virus and quarantining — leaving the facility understaffed — the residents were moved to another location. The transfer was made on Wednesday to CareOne at Hanover in Whippany, New Jersey.

According to USA Today, the two nursing homes cooperated in response to the emergency health scenario despite not having any previous connections.

“The state determined it was in the best interest of both the COVID-19-positive residents and those not impacted by the virus to transfer all patients to another facility,” Lizzy Straus, executive vice president of CareOne, told the outlet.

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During a press conference earlier this week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told reporters that the situation began to unfold last Friday and was quickly handled thanks to CareOne and staff at both nursing homes. “When in doubt, we pull together, and I want to give CareOne a shout-out,” he said.

Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli told reporters that the impact of this virus and the move could result in the closure of St. Joseph’s.

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“We continue to monitor patients with positive results in all of our long-term care facilities. These are our most vulnerable population,” said Persichilli. “… This may result, unfortunately, ultimately in the closure of that facility, a facility that has cared for the most vulnerable population in Woodbridge and the surrounding area for decades.”

As of March 26, there have been a total of 4,402 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 62 deaths in New Jersey, according to a database compiled by The New York Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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