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Nine sisters in New York convent succumb to coronavirus


Lois GoBe | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 01/05/21

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet suffer loss at facility near state capital.

Nine sisters in one New York convent died in December, in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak in their facility.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet reported that almost half of the residents in a facility near New York state’s capital, Albany, were COVID-19-positive and that they had lost nine sisters.

The outbreak took place at St. Joseph’s Provincial House in Latham, New York, the headquarters of the Albany Province of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, which also has a retirement/nursing facility.

Sister Joan Mary Hartigan, head of the Albany Province, told the New York Times that 47 residents had been infected since October, that most have recovered but that three are still being treated. Sister Hartigan said 21 employees had previously tested positive for the virus and recovered, and five more have mild symptoms and are quarantining at their homes.

Those who died were between 84 and 98 years old, the Times said.

“We pray the increasing number of cases across our country is temporary, and we mourn the loss not only of our nine sisters who have succumbed to this awful disease, but also the loss of all life during this pandemic around the world,” Sister Hartigan said in a statement on Sunday. “We look forward to the vaccine and the end of this worldwide health crisis.”

Hartigan said the provincial house was following guidelines to “limit the spread of the virus to the greatest extent possible, including using appropriate personal protective equipment, quarantining sisters who are COVID-19 positive and prohibiting all public access,” the Times said. 

Daniel P. McCoy, the Albany County executive, said the congregation had sought help from the county to address an outbreak in the fall. The county helped with testing and contact tracing to stem that outbreak, the newspaper reported.

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