State officials: NJ patient suspected to have contracted the coronavirus tests negative

A patient at a New Jersey hospital who was suspected to have the coronavirus has tested negative, state officials said.

New Jersey Department of Health officials announced Saturday evening that the test results came back negative for the patient who had been hospitalized at the Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel. Officials said there are no other people in New Jersey who are currently awaiting testing for the virus that causes COVID-19.

“Most New Jersey residents are at low risk for novel coronavirus,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.  “If individuals are having symptoms, the illness is much more likely to be caused by common respiratory viruses such as flu or the common cold.”

Officials said New Jersey hospitals are prepared to handle coronavirus cases. The New Jersey Department of Health has been working to prepare for and respond to the evolving novel coronavirus since early January, they said.

The New Jersey Poison Information and Education System hotline (1-800-222-1222) has received more than 750 calls from the public and can accommodate callers in multiple languages. 

Currently, testing for the virus that causes novel coronavirus will not be performed on individuals with mild illness who are not at high risk for the disease, officials said. For individuals with mild illness, the New Jersey Department of Health does not recommend that they seek medical attention.  For those who have traveled to China or been exposed to people known to have novel coronavirus within the past 14 days and who have fever and symptoms such as cough, officials recommend seeking medical attention. Individuals who fall into this category should call ahead before visiting the doctor’s office or emergency room to inform them about possible exposure and symptoms, officials said.

“The Department continues to remind residents to take necessary precautions to protect themselves from all respiratory viruses, such as washing their hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick,” said Persichilli.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease.The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.