The Sussex County Division of Health's latest weekly summary report on the impact of COVID-19 shows the death toll from the coronavirus continuing to rise at the county's long-term care facilities, where another 27 deaths — including 19 at Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center II — were confirmed by county health officials over the past week.


The county health division's latest weekly summary report — which, for the first time, included data on long-term care facilities that county officials had previously declined to release to the public — also showed the county registering an overall 12% death rate based on the number of residents known to have been infected since the virus first made its way to the county last month, a rate nearly double the statewide average of 6.25%.


Public health officials have not said whether the average age of county residents, which is believed to skew higher than for the state as a whole, might be a reason for the higher death rate or if other factors are at work. However, with county health officials having recently begun tracking recovery rates from the virus, the data show overwhelmingly that the disease's most severe impact has been on those in the over-55 age group, who have accounted for 96% of all county deaths to date.


For the county as a whole, the confirmed death toll from the virus over the last week increased from 91 to 114, including seven more deaths that were confirmed Friday. Five of the seven victims were listed as being from Andover Township, home of Andover Subacute, including two men aged 64 and 80, and three women aged 66, 71 and 83. The other two victims were listed as male residents of Franklin aged 67 and 74.


There were no deaths reported Saturday.


The same report showed the total of confirmed positive cases in the county increasing over the previous week from 818 to 968, which included 13 new cases recorded Friday and 20 on Saturday. Further details regarding the age, gender and residency of those newly contracting the virus were not included.


Among the county's long-term care facilities, Andover Subacute II — a 543-bed facility where 52 residents are now reported to have died — has continued to grab headlines and scrutiny for having had more deaths due to the virus than any other such facility in the state.


Proportionally, however, Valley View Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Newton, a 28-bed facility where six residents are now reported to have died from the virus, has actually had a significantly higher death rate.


Five of the eight long-term care facilities in Sussex County are now known to have had patients and staff test positive for the virus, and all have now had at least one person die as a result, according to the county health division.


Cumulatively, officials say, long-term care facilities in the county have now seen 85 people, including 82 residents and three staff members, die from the virus. Those numbers are drawn from a total of 322 people, including 235 residents and 87 staff members, at long-term care facilities who have tested positive.


The cumulative breakdown for county long-term care facilities is given below. One of the deceased staff members worked at both Barn Hill and Andover Subacute I, hence the reason for what may appear as four rather than three staff member deaths:


Andover Subacute I, 49 cases (34 residents, 15 staff) and 13 deaths (12 residents, 1 staff)


Andover Subacute II, 177 cases (128 residents, 49 staff) and 53 deaths (52 residents, 1 staff)


Barn Hill Care Center in Newton, 15 cases (five residents, 10 staff) and one death (no residents, 1 staff member)


Homestead Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Frankford, 62 cases (55 residents, 7 staff) and 12 deaths (12 residents, zero staff)


Valley View Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Newton, 19 cases (13 residents, six staff) and 7 deaths (6 residents, 1 staff)


The above totals, however, may not account for all those who have been infected. A spokesperson for United Methodist Communities at Bristol Glen confirmed last week that two staff members, but no residents, there had also tested positive for the virus — one on April 9, the other on April 15 — and said both were promptly reported to the county health division.


It is unclear why, several weeks later, those two cases have yet to be reflected in the county's data on long-term care facilities that get reported to the state, something the New Jersey Herald is continuing to look into. However, Sussex County Health Division Director James McDonald said last week that COVID-19 cases and deaths are investigated and closed by the health department where an infected person lives, not where they work.


One of the other takeaways from the county report showed men constituting a slightly lesser percentage of those infected than women (49.9% vs. 50.1%), but a greater percentage of deaths (53.5% vs. 46.5%).


Among the 698 infected individuals and 87 deceased individuals whose race was known, the figures also showed African-Americans constituting a greater proportion of infections (5.3%) and deaths (6.9%) than their numbers alone in Sussex County would indicate.


The cumulative total of all Sussex County residents now known to have tested positive for the virus, broken down by municipality, stands as follows: Andover Borough, 2; Andover Township, 184; Branchville, 5; Byram, 38; Frankford, 65; Franklin, 40; Fredon, 16; Green, 12; Hamburg, 22; Hampton, 26; Hardyston, 46; Hopatcong, 99; Lafayette, 11; Montague, 19; Newton, 75; Ogdensburg, 15; Sandyston, 6; Sparta, 96; Stanhope, 16; Stillwater, 11; Sussex Borough, 6; Vernon, 112; and Wantage, 46.


The breakdown of deaths is as follows: Andover Township, 67; Branchville, 1; Byram, 1; Frankford, 10; Franklin, 2; Hampton, 2; Hardyston, 1; Hopatcong, 3; Montague, 2; Newton, 7; Sandyston, 1; Sparta, 8; Stanhope, 1; Vernon, 6; and Wantage, 2.


It is unclear why a positive case reported last week in Walpack, the first one, was not included in the most recent report. However, county officials have stated repeatedly that figures may be adjusted as new information becomes available.


Eric Obernauer can also be contacted on Twitter: @EricObernNJH or by phone at 973-383-1213.