FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — A Catholic parish was in mourning Sunday amid news of New Jersey's second death attributed to the COVID-19 coronavirus — a township woman who was very active in her church community.

Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine of Freehold Township in a Facebook post identified the victim as Rita Fusco Jackson.

The same post said Fusco Jackson was a teacher in the church's confirmation program and that she had attended a program retreat on Feb. 29 but had "minimal" exposure to other participants.

Another member of Jackson's family teaches a fifth grade religious class, which also includes two members of the family; all have been self-quarantined, according to the church.

Gov. Phil Murphy on his Twitter account said the victim who died March 14 was a woman in her 50s who had been admitted to CentraState Medical Center in Freehold Township.

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during a media briefing on Sunday the woman's brother had been friends with New Jersey's first known COVID-19 death, John Brennan, 69, of Little Ferry.

Persichilli also said the woman had been exposed to the virus at a family gathering along with "several" other family members, and that she was unaware of any underlying health conditions the woman may have had.

A spokesperson from the Trenton Diocese told New Jersey 101.5 that Monsignor Sam Sirianni told church community members of the woman's death during mass on Saturday.

A man in his 50s also was being treated for COVID-19 at CentraState, according to a press update issued by the hospital March 12.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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