CAMDEN, NJ — A Cherry Hill doctor in her 60s became the second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Camden County, officials announced Friday during a press conference.
Earlier in the day, Gov. Phil Murphy confirmed that there are 50 reported cases in the state.
“The patient traveled from Colorado to Philadelphia on March 7,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli during the press conference at the Camden County Department of Health in Blackwood, NJ. "She's doing well, thankfully."
The patient, a Cherry Hill woman, began having symptoms two days earlier on March 5, officials said. She is now self-quarantined at her Cherry Hill home.
The woman, her husband and the friend she traveled with — who are the only known individuals to be exposed to the virus at this time — are all under quarantine.
County officials confirmed that the woman is a doctor with a private practice in another county — but did not reveal which county.
The presumptive positive results — which the CDC would still need to verify — were returned from a sample tested by the private lab Quest Diagnostics, Health Officer, Dr. Paschal Nwako told reporters.
Prior to March 5, Nwako said the woman did not show symptoms — nor was she contagious while practicing in South Jersey.
In Camden County, 10 individuals are under self-quarantine and 18 have completed self-quarantine.
As of Friday, six individuals have tested negative for the virus.
The first presumed positive case in the county, a Cherry Hill man, was confirmed last week.
That man has since been discharged from the hospital and is "doing well," Cappelli said.
Nwako said no students in Camden County have tested positive for COVID-19 but Cappelli said to "take that with a grain of salt."
"When Dr. Paschal says we have no students with this virus, we mean no students that we know who have been tested," said Cappelli. "In Camden County, only nine people have been tested so far. I can guarantee you not one of them is a student."
Cappelli expressed frustration over efforts beyond the county level — with far too rigorous protocols for residents to obtain tests.
"There are not an accurate number of tests for our residents," he said. "Based on the research I've seen, the battles on the frontline are really fought at the testing stations. The more people you test, the more you know who are positive and who are not positive."
Since the Cherry Hill woman was on a flight, officials said, the CDC would need to step into to further investigation.
The county said they have not received word over when the final test results — promised March 5 — would be returned from the CDC.
"The scary part of all this is the fact we don't have all the information we need to deal with this crisis," he said.
Cappelli could not offer recourse for businesses being impacted by residents' fearing leaving their homes. In addition, non-essential county employees have been asked to stay home.
Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez directed residents' questions on COVID-19 to the state’s dedicated coronavirus call center at (800) 962-1253 or (800) 222-1222.
Rodriguez, who is also liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services, said “It is important to take this threat seriously, but it is also critical that each of us respond appropriately."
Rodriguez also advised against stockpiling food, water and large quantities of face masks.