A 10th patient has died after becoming infected with a virus at a nursing center, New Jersey health officials said.
The type of adenovirus identified in the outbreak poses little threat to healthy people, but it can have grave consequences for patients such as those who died, who were living in a long-term care center with weakened immune systems.
Most of the patients who died were children who used wheelchairs and breathed with the help of ventilators at the Wanaque Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation in Haskell, Passaic County. At least one of the victims was a young adult. The state Department of Health has revealed few details on the patients, citing privacy laws.
In announcing the 10th death Wednesday night, state Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said on Twitter he was "heartbroken" and was in contact with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about standards at such facilities.
In a report made public Tuesday, state inspectors said they had observed staff members at the 227-bed for-profit facility failing to wash their hands on several occasions before interacting with patients.
In previous reports, inspectors cited the center for mildewed carpet and a leaky urinary drainage bag in one patient room.
A woman answering the phone at the nursing center Thursday declined to comment on the deaths.
In addition to the 10 patients who died, 17 others were infected with the virus at some point between Sept. 26 and Oct. 29, state health officials said.