State officials: Six more people in NJ test positive for COVID-19

Six more people in New Jersey have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of residents in the state who have tested positive to 29, Lieutenant Gov. Sheila Oliver said Thursday afternoon.

State health commissioner Judy Persichilli broke down the six new cases by county.

– A 16-year-old female from Englewood in Bergen County has tested positive.

– A 66-year-old female from Montclair in Essex County has tested positive and is hospitalized at Mountainside Hospital. Her exposure contact point information is pending.

– A 51-year-old male in Butler Borough, Morris County, tested positive and was exposed to someone who had already tested positive for COVID-19.

– A 23-year-old male from Bridgewater may have been exposed through close contact with a Pennsylvania resident who tested positive for COVID-19.

– A 53-year-old male from Manalapan in Monmouth County tested positive and was exposed to a person who had tested positive previously.

– A female from Teaneck in Bergen County, age unknown, tested positive at Holy Name Medical Center. Officials don’t know whether the woman is hospitalized. She was exposed to the coronavirus at a synagogue carnival on March 1. All attendees of the carnival have been told they should self-quarantine.

Thirty-seven cases still are under investigation. Persichilli did not have data on the number of specimens waiting for testing or waiting to be collected. The state lab does not have a backlog, officials said.

Currently, the risk for the general public is still low in New Jersey, Persichilli said. Officials are beginning to assign risk categories to counties, she said.

Bergen County has 13 presumptive positive cases, and it still considered to be a moderate risk county given the population, Persichilli said. Monmouth County has five cases, which is above minimal risk but not quite a moderate risk, she said. Burlington County and Middlesex County have two cases, and the risk is none to minimal, she said. Hudson, Passaic, Union, Morris, Essex, and Sussex counties each have one positive case and the risk is none to minimal, she said.

“We have to accept as our response to the virus continues, that there will be disruption to daily lives,” Persichilli said. “Some schools will close, some people will need to self-quarantine. This causes concern, but it is all to reduce risk and exposure to residents in the state.”

Test results were expected by the end of the day yesterday for two Princeton staff members who attended a party at a private home in Princeton where two of the guests later tested positive for the coronavirus. The two people who tested positive were from the Boston area, and contracted the virus at the Biogen conference in Boston. Local health officials have been working since Tuesday to identify the other people at that party, which was attended by 14 Princeton residents an a total of 47 people. Nine of the Princeton residents have symptoms and are being tested. All of the party attendees have been asked to self-quarantine.

Three Pennsylvania residents who attended that party tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday.

The South Brunswick Public Schools are closed because of the Princeton incident. Two residents from that community attended the event and at least one has symptoms.

Princeton health officials have not provided an update on the test results as of 3 p.m. on Thursday. We will post an update as soon as we have more information.

Many events in the Princeton area for the rest of March and early April have been canceled or postponed, including Communiversity and Princeton Public Library events through early April. All Princeton University public events have been canceled for the semester. No decision has been made yet regarding graduation or reunions at the university.

Gov. Murphy has recommended that groups not hold public gatherings of more than 250 people.

The Princeton Medical Center is asking that people not visit patients at the hospital.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following to stop the spread of the coronavirus:

  • 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 wipes.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Social distancing is also a strategy to combat the coronavirus. People are working from home, attending school via distance-learning technologies, avoiding large groups and conferences, and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others in public spaces.