Cape May Covid-19 Nursing Home Death

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North Cape May, NJ -  Victoria Manor keeps a low profile. The 120-bed nursing home and rehabilitation center sits in a fragment of woodland, a world away from the hustle of busy streets nearby.

Now this quiet Lower Township setting is at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic in Cape May County.

First COVID-19 Nursing Home Death

Tuesday, the Cape May County Health Department announced the first coronavirus death at the facility -  an 86 year old man with significant underlying health issues. The resident died after being hospitalized. He was the second person in the county to die from the coronavirus.

So far, 15 residents and 12 staff members at the nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19. The coronavirus outbreak at Victoria Manor was reported two days ago.

County trying to contain spread

The County Heath Department says it’s been working with Genesis HealthCare, the owner of the facility, to contain the spread of the disease. Genesis operates two other North Cape May facilities – Victoria Commons, an assisted living facility on the same campus as Victoria Manor and the North Cape Center, a nursing home and rehabilitation center.

Lower Township Emergency Proclamation

Lower Township Mayor Frank Sippel acknowledged last night Victoria Manor had become an epicenter of the county’s coronavirus cases.  He pointed to out-of-town visitors escaping to the area as part of the problem.

“We’re starting to see an influx of short term rentals. We can not risk spreading the virus from those who want a getaway.”

The Township issued an emergency proclamation banning all short-term lodging, including rentals and hotels, until May 22.  The Mayor announced a vacation rental shut down several days ago.

Sippel said landlords will be subject to criminal prosecution. “It’s unlawful for people to come to our town and put our residents at risk. ”

He’s asking anyone with knowledge of those rentals to call 609-780-7112 and provide the address. He said code enforcement will investigate.

About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak - a journalist, gardener and Cape Island resident - is writing a book.