MONTGOMERY, NJ – The township Health Department has confirmed 53 cases of COVID-19 at the Carrier Clinic in the Belle Mead section.
The outbreak occurred in a unit where 30 staff and 23 patients tested positive for the virus.
Carrier Clinic, a specialized behavioral health facility owned by Hackensack Meridian, implemented universal testing of all staff after discovering a handful of cases earlier in ther week, uncovering many more cases among asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals.
“This outbreak is worrisome, in a vulnerable population that has difficulty social distancing, but it is not surprising, as cases rates are growing exponentially across New Jersey,” said Montgomery Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey. “The second wave is upon us and we all have to do everything in our power to keep masking, keep distancing, and keep out of large gatherings.”
Contact with local residents and Carrier staff is infrequent. The facility draws staff and patients from a wide geographic area, making it vulnerable to the second wave of infection across New Jersey and the nation.
Hackensack Meridian has shut down the impacted unit and relocated those patients to other locations with medical isolation facilities. Affected staff are isolating in their homes.
Montgomery’s Health Department met virtually with Carrier leadership to assure they have implemented NJ Department of Health infection control protocols, and that Hackensack Meridian is providing the resources needed to stop this outbreak.
Because these Carrier cases do not include residents, they are not included among the numbers regularly reported by Montgomery Township’s health department, which have been rising recently as well.