First presumed case of coronavirus in NJ is in Bergen County

New Jersey officials announced Wednesday night that the state has its first presumed case of coronavirus.

Bergen County (red) is located in northeastern NJ.

A Bergen County man has been hospitalized since Tuesday, March 3, following a positive result of the coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy and Acting Governor Sheila Oliver said in a joint statement Wednesday.

The hospital name was not disclosed in the statement. North Jersey news outlets said the man, 32, is a Fort Lee resident. who arrived at the emergency department at Hackensack University Medical Center on Tuesday exhibiting symptoms that caused clinicians to suspect he had contracted COVID-19.

State and federal officials said they are working to trace close contacts of the man and taking “appropriate health actions.”

“My administration is working aggressively to keep residents safe and contain the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey,” Murphy said. “We take this situation very seriously and have been preparing for this for weeks. I urge residents to remain calm and use resources from the New Jersey Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to prepare and prevent the spread of infection.”

The test was performed by the state’s health department. The Center for Disease Control still needs to officially confirm the case. State officials are treating the case as if it were confirmed.

On Wednesday afternoon, officials cautioned that any residents who attended religious events at a Westchester synagogue recently should self-quarantine until this coming Sunday.

On Monday, the New Jersey Department of Health issued guidelines for child care centers, schools, and universities in preparation for a coronavirus outbreak. Officials are urging schools to anticipate school closures, implement flexible attendance policies, establish procedures and develop a plan in response to community transmission. Officials also outlined preventative measures, cleaning procedures, travel recommendations ahead of spring break, and what to do if a student or staff member presents with symptoms of COVID-19.

On Feb. 28, Princeton Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane sent a letter to parents, students and staff members saying the school district, in partnership with the municipality, is working to prepare for any possibility of contagion in Princeton. Cochrane wrote that nurses continue to look daily at the number of students who are out sick and follow appropriate protocols for screening new students who have spent time in areas where the virus has been more prevalent. The district has also increased disinfectant procedures on school buses, as well as increasing the cleaning of frequently touched surfaces in buildings, such as door handles, sinks, keyboards, and desks.