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Surgery Center In NJ Says 3,778 Patients May Have Been Exposed To Bloodborne Infections

SADDLE BROOK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - There's a health alert for affecting thousands of people who visited an outpatient surgery center in North Jersey.

They're being told to get their blood tested after a state investigation found unsanitary conditions at the facility.

The HealthPlus Surgery Center in Saddle Brook is alerting 3,778 patients that they may have been exposed to infections.

The warning covers people who had procedures there between January and Sept. 7 of 2018.

WEB EXTRA: Read the letter to patients

In a letter to patients, the center says "during this time period, lapses in infection control in sterilization/cleaning instruments and the injection of medications may have exposed patients to bloodborne pathogens."

A state investigation found staff members were not following proper procedures. Officials shut down the facility from Sept. 7-28. It reopened after that.

The center says the risk of infection is low, but they still want people to get tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

"It is important to note that to date, there have not been reports of any infections or illness related to the investigation. However, HealthPlus and the New Jersey Department of Health are recommending that those patients get tested as soon as possible," HealthPlus Surgery Center Administrator Betty McCabe said in a atatement. "We recognize that this may be upsetting to our patients, and we are taking this matter very seriously and taking steps to assist them during this process."

Health Plus Surgery Center
Health Plus Surgery Center (credit: CBS2)

Patients will be able to schedule a blood test at no charge to them, paid for by HealthPlus.

  • In New Jersey:
    • Call 1-888-507-0578 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m.-9 p.m. to schedule a test
    • Testing will take place at the Hudson Regional Hospital located at 55 Meadowlands Parkway, Secaucus, New Jersey 07094.
    • Bring the letter you received from the center with you
  • In New York
    • Testing can be conducted at any LabCorp location. To find a location near you, click here.
    • You can also call 1-888-507-0578 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m.-9 p.m. to schedule a test
    • Bring the letter you received, along with the LabCorp enclosure you received, and a photo ID.

As part of its remediation efforts, the center says it has improved its infection control and medication dispensing procedures, hired new staff and trained them on sterile processing, and has cleaned and repaired all instruments.

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