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March 06, 2020

Coronavirus case diagnosed in Camden County, health officials say

Illness Coronavirus

A Camden County man has been diagnosed with coronavirus, becoming the third case reported in New Jersey. The patient is being treated at Jefferson Health in Cherry Hill, according to local health officials, who assure the public the county has a plan in place to handle the arrival of the virus.

 Camden County health officials have reported a presumptive coronavirus case, marking the third New Jersey patient to be diagnosed with COVID-19.

It's the first South Jersey case.

The patient, a man in his 60s, is receiving treatment from Jefferson Health in Cherry Hill, according to the health department.

The positive result came from a sample tested by the New Jersey Department of Health at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories. The patient's sample has been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.

“While we know that any case of coronavirus presents a cause for concern for our residents, we want to emphasize that this case only reemphasizes the need to follow personal hygiene guidelines vigilantly, this should not be a cause for panic and the risk to the general public remains low,” Health Officer Paschal Nwako said in a statement released by the county. 

“Our department has been planning and preparing for several weeks for the possibility of a case of coronavirus in Camden County, and residents can rest assured that we are prepared to act swiftly and protect the health of our community," Nwako said.

Camden County health officials are working with the New Jersey Department of Health to trace close contacts of this individual. Additional public health actions will be taken as appropriate.

Earlier this week, two cases of coronavirus were reported in Bergen County, a 32-year-old Fort Lee man and an Englewood resident.

Camden County officials plan to hold a press conference on the newly reported case at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Across the country, The CDC had confirmed 164 cases, including 11 deaths, in 19 states through Thursday afternoon. Another 49 repatriated Americans, most of them former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, also contracted the virus.

In Pennsylvania, health officials announced the state's first two coronavirus cases on Friday.

Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Most illness are mild, but a serious illness occurs in about 16% of cases, according to initial data from China. The incubation period is believed to be 2-14 days.

Older people and those with underlying health conditions, including heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, appear to be at greater risk for developing a serious illness, according to the CDC.

There is no known treatment for COVID-19 and a vaccine is expected to take at least a year to develop.

Health experts stress that the best way to prevent illness is to practice good hand hygiene, avoid close contact with sick individuals and frequently disinfect common surfaces and objects.

“At this time, the most important thing for the public to recognize is that the general health risk to the public remains low," said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services. "The best way to protect yourself is not to buy or wear facemasks, but to practice appropriate social distancing, avoiding contact with those who appear visibly ill and to adhere to recommended personal hygiene practices.”

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