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March 05, 2020

New Jersey reports second presumptive coronavirus case

Officials announced the first case Wednesday night

Illness Coronavirus
First Coronavirus Case New Jersey Alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins/CDC

New Jersey officials announced the state's second presumptive case of coronavirus on Thursday, March 5 – one day after Gov. Phil reported the first case.

UPDATE, March 5

A second New Jersey resident, also from Bergen County, has tested positive for coronavirus, officials announced Thursday afternoon. The individual reportedly is in isolation at Englewood Health and has no known connection to the first case. 

New Jersey has a presumed coronavirus case, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday night. 

The patient is a 32-year-old man being kept in isolation at Hackensack University Medical Center in Bergen County, according to North He has been hospitalized since Tuesday. 

A sample tested by the New Jersey Department of Health returned positive results. It is now being sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation, but New Jersey officials are treating it as their first case of COVID-19. 

 New Jersey health officials are working to trace close contacts of the patient, New Jersey officials said. The hospital, which was not identified by officials, is following all infectious disease protocols.

Murphy released a statement saying his administration is working aggressively to contain the spread of the virus in New Jersey.

"We take this situation very seriously and have been preparing for this for weeks," Murphy said. "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. Safeguarding the public's health is one of my highest priorities and my administration is prepared to respond swiftly to any additional positive cases of COVID-19 here in New Jersey."

New Jersey officials urged the public to follow CDC guidelines to prevent infection. But they also stressed that risk of infection remains low.

"Any case of novel coronavirus in our state is concerning, however most New Jersey residents are at very low risk of contracting COVID-19," Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a statement.

Across the United States, the CDC has confirmed 99 cases, including 10 deaths, in 13 states through Wednesday afternoon. Another 49 repatriated Americans, most of them former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, also contracted the virus.

Philadelphia has not had any coronavirus cases, though one person currently is under investigation. 

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. 

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. 

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, like cell phones. 

Facial masks provide little benefit to healthy people. They only should be worn by sick individuals and health care workers, the CDC says

The disease is more deadly than seasonal influenza, but it does not transmit as easily, World Health Organization officials say. There is no known treatment and a vaccine could take at least a year to develop. 

Since originating in Wuhan, China late last year, the coronavirus has infected 92,000 people worldwide, killing 3,200. The virus has spread to dozens of countries.

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