Six relatives of a Monmouth County woman who died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus have been hospitalized by COVID-19 and nearly a dozen more relatives are awaiting test results.

Rita Fusco-Jackson died March 14 at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold Township but her death was not announced until days later, when her test result came back positive. Fusco-Jackson became the state's second death from COVID-19, which has since claimed a total of five people as of March 18.

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Her sister, Elizabeth Fusco, told that five members of her family are hospitalized at CentraState with cases of COVID-19 and a brother is hospitalized in Pennsylvania. New Jersey 101.5 was unable to reach Fusco on Wednesday for more information.

Officials at Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine in Freehold Township said two of the woman's relatives were students in a 5th grade religious class and another relative was the teacher in the class. All had quarantined despite not having symptoms, according to the church.

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during a media briefing on Sunday that Jackson's brother had been friends with John Brennan, 69, of Little Ferry, who on March 10 became the first patient to die from COVID-19 in New Jersey.

Persichilli said the woman had been exposed to the virus at a family gathering along with several other relatives.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ


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