Two more NJ residents test positive for coronavirus, Mercer resident tests negative

Four New Jersey residents whose coronavirus test results were pending yesterday all tested negative, including a resident from Mercer County, state health officials said in a conference call Sunday afternoon. Two more residents in New Jersey have tested positive for the coronavirus this weekend, bringing the total positive cases in the state to six, officials said.

A 70-year-old man from Teaneck in Bergen County tested positive. His symptoms began on Feb. 28, and he was admitted to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson on March 6. He is in stable condition but is in the intensive care unit. Officials are not able to do a full interview with him yet to determine who he had contact with in New Jersey, or to determine his point of exposure. He is a healthcare worker, officials said.

A second person is a 32-year-old man from West New York in Hudson County. His symptoms began on Feb. 28 and he was admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack on March 5. Interviews with the man have not been completed yet and there is no information yet on his contacts in New Jersey.

The men are among the fifteen people who were mentioned in a briefing yesterday who were being tested this weekend. Seven tests from that group came back negative and six are still pending.

Four other people have tested positive in the state — three people in Bergen County (one Fort Lee resident and two Englewood residents), and one in Camden County (Cherry Hill).

Contrary to some news reports, the CDC has not yet officially confirmed any of the positive tests in New Jersey. State officials refer to the New Jersey cases as “presumed positive.”

Officials also said that they are investigating two other issues. A Bergen County resident attended the CPAC conference in Maryland where an attendee has tested positive. An Uber driver from New York has also transported individuals to New Jersey, and officials are getting information from driver to determine potential NJ exposures.

The state is still tracking 27 people for possible exposure, with six of the cases belonging to the group of 15 people whose tests were underway this weekend. Nine cases are in Bergen County, one is in Camden County, two are in Cumberland County, three are in Essex County, two are in Hunterdon County, two are in Middlesex County, four are in Monmouth County, three are in Union County, and one is in Sussex County.

“From north to south, the coronavirus seems to be spreading,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said on the call. “We are collecting specimens and will begin testing procedures later today on the remaining cases.”

Persichilli said officials have also addressed questions from school districts about school closings. State officials have sent out guidance and have held calls with officials directing them to information on the Department of Health’s website.

“We are encouraging everyone to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds,” Persichilli said when asked about residents buying up hand sanitizer and stores selling out. “It’s as effective if not more effective than hand sanitizer. Soap and water are far more effective than a hand sanitizer that doesn’t have the right mix of alcohol.”