EWING, NJ — State officials confirmed the first coronavirus death on Tuesday — a 69-year-old man from Bergen County.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during a press conference shortly after the death was announced that the number of presumed positive cases in the state has reached 15.
Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency across all 21 counties Monday, hoping to bolster the availability of resources in the event of a broader outbreak of the virus officially called COVID-19.
As of this report, 31 individuals are under investigation.
Persichilli said that while the number of cases climbing was concerning, that it was not unexpected.
The results announced thus far are based on the state lab, New Jersey Department of Health officials said. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has yet to further validate the cases.
“We are sad to report the first death in a case of COVID-19 in New Jersey," Murphy and Lieutenant Gov. Sheila Oliver said in a joint statement. "Our prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We remain vigilant to doing all we can — across all levels of government — to protect the people of New Jersey.”
Of the other three additional cases announced Tuesday, one is an individual from Bergen County and two are from Burlington County.
No case histories have been presented for these individuals thus far.
The 69-year-old Bergen County man who died had a prior medical history, including diabetes, gastro-intestinal bleeding and emphysema hypertension. Although he reportedly had no history of travel outside the US, he did make frequent travel to and from New York, officials said.
According to Persichilli, on March 6 the man was admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center — where treatment was unsuccessful, and he succumbed following two bouts of cardiac arrest.
Earlier Tuesday, Murphy also announced that his administration would look to support consumer access to coronavirus testing — including waiving consumer cost sharing for all medically necessary coronavirus testing.
The waiver includes services related to the emergency room, urgent care, and office visits related to COVID-19 testing for the state’s individual, small and large group markets.
Murphy and Oliver said they are encouraging private insurers to do the same.
“As we continue to strengthen our efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we must ensure that our residents are focused on their health and not on the cost of medically necessary testing,” said Murphy. “These actions bolster our state’s coordinated response and preparedness efforts by eliminating affordability concerns for New Jerseyans."
The additional 11 presumed positive cases announced thus far in NJ are as follows:
A 61-year-old from Cherry Hill (Camden County)
An 18-year-old from Clifton (Passaic County)
A 48-year-old from Berkeley Heights (Union County)
A 27-year-old man from Little Silver (Monmouth County)
An 83-year-old woman from Hazlet (Monmouth County)
A 30-year-old from Teaneck (Bergen County)
A 70-year-old male healthcare worker from Teaneck (Bergen County)
A 32-year-old man from West New York (Hudson County)
A 32-year-old Fort Lee man (Bergen County)
An Englewood woman in her 30’s (Bergen County)
A 55-year-old Englewood man (Bergen County)