SOUTH BRUNSWICK — A mother and daughter died 17 hours apart this week, both as a result of COVID-19, authorities said.

The two deaths are among the 1,504 lives that the disease caused by the novel coronavirus has taken in New Jersey just since the beginning of March.

The names of the deceased are too many to list but they have included people from all walks of life from every part of the state.

Among them was Steve Ravitz, the retired president of Ravitz Family Markets, which operates six ShopRite stores in Camden and Burlington counties.

Ravitz spent 13 days in the hospital, his son said Wednesday.

"One definitive lesson that everyone should take from the loss of Dad is that this virus is not the flu, it is far worse and if it grabs hold, it can ravage your body," Jason Ravitz said on Facebook. "It is a deadly disease and acts indiscriminately - please please please take precautions - there is no cure or treatment guaranteed to heal anyone - Dad would not want anyone else to suffer."

Camden County Freeholder Jeffrey Nash described Ravitz as one of the county's "most notable boosters."

"Steve and his family didn’t think twice about providing the county with $10,000 to feed seniors and anyone who was at risk of going hungry in these historic times. We will miss his willingness to serve our region from his position with Temple Beth Sholom to his support of the arts in Cherry Hill," Nash said in a written statement. "He was a good man who always saw the best in society."

South Brunswick family mourning

South Brunswick police said 33-year-old Amanda Ruiz died at her home about 5 p.m. Monday. Her 70-year-old mother, Rhonda, was pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday after being admitted last week.

Police said Amanda Ruiz was a graduate of South Brunswick High School.

The surviving Ruiz daughter, Jessica Ingaglio, told NBC 4 New York that her father is also hospitalized for COVID-19.

"These are some of the most difficult days and we ask for everyone’s continued thoughts and prayers for all those impacted by the virus," the township police department said in a written statement.

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South Brunswick has had 64 residents test positive for COVID-19. The Ruiz deaths were the township's first reported fatalities related to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Middlesex County on Friday will open its second testing center at the MVC inspection station on Route 130 in the Dayton section of South Brunswick. The site will alternate days with the Edison testing center.

NJ Transit worker dies

Joe Hansen
Joe Hansen (NJ Transit)

NJ Transit is mourning the death of Raritan Valley Line conductor Joe Hansen, 62, the company's first worker to die from COVID-19.

"Joe positively impacted many lives as he served customers for more than 20 years. Joe was a well-loved member of the NJT family, and he will be deeply missed," NJ Transit said on its Twitter account.

NJ Transit CEO and President Kevin Corbett said during Tuesday's board meeting that 87 employees have tested positive for coronavirus, 57 of whom operate buses, trains or clean stations. Meanwhile, 571 workers are in quarantine and 159 have returned to work.

At Tuesday's daily coronavirus briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy noted the death of Diana Tennant, who worked with recipients of food stamps at Fulfill, the food bank for Monmouth and Ocean counties.

"She is remembered by her friends as someone who always had time to lend a hand. Diana was only 51 years old and had so much more to give. We also send our condolences, prayers to her family and friends at this time," Murphy said.

The governor also mentioned the death of James Wilson, 93, who Murphy said was one of the first Dominican physicians to open a clinic in the United States. He practiced medicine for more than 40 years and recently celebrated his 54th wedding anniversary with his wife, Nilda.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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