Health aide charged with spreading coronavirus, which killed 80-year-old
A 49-year-old home health aid is facing criminal charges after authorities say she exposed coronavirus to an 80-year-old patient who later died with COVID-19.
Authorities did not blame Josefina Brito-Hernandez for being the person who infected the patient but they did fault the Camden woman for not taking precautions while working in the household, where five residents eventually contracted coronavirus.
Authorities said Brito-Hernandez did not tell the elderly patient that she had developed symptoms or that she had gotten a coronavirus test on April 16. That test later came back positive.
Authorities said Brito-Hernandez ignored health officials' instructions to self-isolate while she waited for her results to come back because she had been exposed to someone suspected of having COVID-19. Instead, she went back to work the next day caring for the 80-year-old and two developmentally disabled siblings. Officials said she didn't wear any face covering despite being required to do so by her employer.
Investigators said Brito-Hernandez was recorded on a home surveillance video giving the 80-year-old a sponge bath, taking her vital signs and feeding her while not wearing any personal protective equipment.
Officials said that the 80-year-old and four other people living in the home later contracted the coronavirus. The 80-year-old was eventually hospitalized and died.
Brito-Hernandez was charged with five counts of third- and fourth-degree endangering. New Jersey 101.5 did not know whether she had an attorney who could speak on her behalf.
Other crimes reported this week
Antwan Strickland, 20, of Roebling; Jemir Jones, 21, of Mount Laurel; and Rashaun Turner, 33, of Burlington Township were charged May 14 with violating the emergency orders after police said they threw a party in the backyard of an abandoned home in Burlington City. Police said they had been warned after similar incidents in the past and Strickland and Jones had been among four charged on May 10 with other offenses.
Chan Kwon, 49, of Perth Amboy, was charged on May 13 after police said he opened his beauty supply store for the second time.
Yisrael Knopfler, a 44-year-old Lakewood rabbi suing Gov. Phil Murphy over the executive orders, was arrested May 11 after police said he had dozens of people in his back yard, where a tent had been set up. The group of men yelled at police and Knopfler was accused of being verbally and physically aggressive and uncooperative.
Chaim Oestreicher, 52 and Sarah Oestreicher, 49, of Lakewood, also were cited for having nearly two dozen people attend a backyard bonfire.
Chaim Gutman, 37, was cited that same day after police found a band playing on his home's deck for a crowd of 50 to 100 people.
Miran Lee, 45, of Passaic, was charged on May 12 with violating the emergency orders and with fourth-degree risking/causing widespread injury after police said she opened her New Asian Massage after having been charged with doing that twice before.
Mohammad Bahar, 42, of Cliffside Park, was charged on May 12 with opening S&S Furniture Gallery in Irvington.
Diana Ron, 38, of Union Township, Union County, and Dunia Mora, 59, of Irvington, were charged May 11 after police found customers being served alcohol at Antojito’s Restaurant in Irvington. Ron is the owner while Mora is the manager.
James Robyn, 69, of Chester, was charged May 11 with opening his pool and hot tub shop. Police said he had been warned to close two weeks earlier.
Rami Jabara, 45, of Little Ferry, was charged May 10 with opening his Jerusalem Jewelry on Main Street in Paterson. Police said they had warned him to close the day before.
Sergio J. Moya Jr., 27, of Jersey City, was charged on May 8 by the Port Authority Police Department with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct for harassing ticket agents at Newark Airport.
Margaret O’Leary, 20, of Secaucus, was arrested May 12 after police responded to a 911 hang-up call. Police said she became combative, pulled a cop's vest and kicked him in the groin. After her arrest, she repeatedly removed a spit guard and spit on cops, police said. She was charged with four counts third-degree aggravated assault on an officer, two counts of fourth-degree throwing bodily fluids and other misdemeanors.
Sughuy Cepeda, 43, of Teaneck, was arrested May 11 in Englewood on charges of violating a restraining order. After her arrest, she threatened to spit on a cop, police said. Police said she previously had been arrested four times for violating the same order and that this was the third time she was charged with spitting or threatening to spit on cops while claiming to have COVID-19. The latest charges against her were second-degree terroristic threats and contempt.
David Hathaway, 61, of Newton, was arrested on May 9 on DWI charges. Andover Township police said he threw a bloody face covering at cops after resisting arrest.
The state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is seeking a 10-day suspension against the Watering Hole Café in Hamilton, Atlantic County, for serving alcohol to customers.
The Olive Garden, also in Hamilton, was fined $500 for allowing employees not to wear masks.
Sakura Japanese Steakhouse, also in Hamilton, was $500 for mask-less workers.
Community Liquors in Ventnor City was $250 for allowing customers without masks.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.