Coronavirus reaches NJ: What we know about patient, hospital
New Jersey has its first presumptive positive case of the new coronavirus, according to the state Department of Health.
A sample was tested by the state lab, which recently received authorization to test for coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
The sample is being sent to the CDC's lab in Atlanta for final confirmation but the state is presuming it is a positive diagnosis.
Who is the patient?
- The man has not been identified by name by the Department of Health but the borough of Fort Lee in a statement said he is a 32-year-old resident.
- Health commissioner Judith M. Persichilli said at a press conference the man went to an urgent care facility on Sunday which sent him to Hackensack University Medical Center.
- Works in New York City. His movement was primarily around the city prior to contracting COVID-19.
- The man had "limited close contact" with anyone other than medical professionals
- In an email to employees, Meridian Health said the man is "resting comfortably and doing well" at Hackensack University Medical Center.
- Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich told NJ.com that he does not know what the man's occupation is but that the patient has no children attending school.
How did he contract coronavirus?
- It remains under investigation how the man contracted the virus and the Department of Health said it is "tracing close contacts of this individual and is taking appropriate public health actions."
What does "presumptive" mean?
- The patient's sample was sent to the CDC for a final determination. According to the Department of Health, "state and local public health authorities are proceeding with the public health investigation and response activities as if this was a confirmed case."
What precautions are Hackensack University Medical Center taking?
- Hackensack Meridian Health Chief Physician Executive Daniel W. Varga said that the patient has been isolated, his visitors are limited, equipment is being dedicated to his care and and staff is using appropriate personal protective equipment.
What precautions is Fort Lee taking?
- Borough officials said that given the municipality's proximity to New York, which has confirmed dozens of cases, it has been preparing with the creation of a task force that met on Thursday morning to discuss their next steps, mobilize resources and be ready to act depending on how the patient contracted the virus.
Are there any additional cases under investigation in New Jersey?
- Persichilli said a second presumptive case was determined on Thursday afternoon at Englewood Health & Medical Center. 13 cases have so far been tested and results are pending for another eight.
How do you protect yourself from coronavirus?
Steps to prevent the spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the New Jersey Department of Health:
- Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home while you are sick and avoid contact with others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
The CDC says symptoms of COVID-19, which may appear 2-14 days after exposure, include:
- Shortness of breath
If individuals are experiencing symptoms, they should call their healthcare provider before visiting their office.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ
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