Editor's Note: Shortly after this report, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in New Jersey (Bergen County) with more details to be released.
CAMDEN, NJ — Local and state officials say they are making preparations amid additional cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the US including working with state and federal partners to monitor travelers from impacted areas and maintaining correspondence with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Nationwide, the virus has (as of this report) claimed 11 lives in the US, and there are 130 confirmed cases across 13 states — including 11 cases in New York as of Wednesday afternoon.
Worldwide, there have been over 94,000 cases and more than 3,200 deaths attributed to the virus.
Italy officials announced they would close schools through March 15 and Los Angeles County declared a local state of emergency following new cases.
“With news of the fast-spreading novel coronavirus changing each day, the Freeholder Board and the Camden County Department of Health want to reassure our residents that...our team is taking the necessary steps to prepare for any and all changes that may occur,” Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez said in a countywide message.
Rodriguez, who is also the liaison to the department of health and human services, said the majority of the nationwide cases have been linked to individuals who traveled into areas already impacted by an outbreak.
In a tweet Tuesday, the city said Camden Mayor Frank Moran, Senator Cruz Perez, Chief of Staff Angela Johnston and OEM Coordinator Keith Walker joined Gov. Phil Murphy for a conference call on coronavirus preparedness.
The city advises residents to visit nj.gov/health or call 1-800-222-1222 for any information.
Health experts advise that confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
“In the event that an outbreak affects government employees and personnel, residents should rest assured that we are prepared to meet the needs of our citizens,” said Rodriguez. “Departments and agencies within county are already proactively updating their continuity of operations and continuity of operational plans, ensuring that critical services and functions will remain accessible in the event that employees cannot continue to work in their regular facilities.”
The county reiterated good hygiene practices that residents should be mindful of:
Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing;
Washing your hands properly and often with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
Avoiding close contact with sick people;
Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible; and
Staying home from work or school when you are sick