The Montgomery Health Department is working with Carrier Clinic in the Belle Mead section on an outbreak of COVID-19 in a unit where 30 staff and 23 patients have tested positive for COVID. Carrier Clinic, a specialized behavioral health facility owned by Hackensack Meridian, implemented universal testing of all staff after discovering a handful of cases earlier this week, uncovering many more cases among asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals.
At this time, none of the individuals are believed to be Montgomery residents, and contact with 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.
Montgomery Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey has made the following assessment: “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. 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.”
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.