FLEMINGTON, NJ - The Flemington-Raritan Regional School District has confirmed that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a notice from the district.

According to the notice, the staff member was in Francis A. Desmares Elementary School and Reading-Fleming Intermediate School during the week of March 9, while symptomatic.

"It is important to note that as the state is doing more testing, our community is bound to see the number of cases rise," the note said. "The county health department and our medical professionals have communicated with us that a rising number of confirmed cases is to be expected in New Jersey as more people are tested for COVID-19."

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Superintendent Kari McGann said in the notice that the risk remains low for students, staff and members of the Flemington-Raritan School District. She said the Department of Health will contact anyone who is at-risk residing in the region within the next 24 hours.

Any at-risk individuals living outside the region will receive notification from their appropriate Department of Health.

Anyone experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath is still advised to contact a health care provider.

"In this climate, fear and anxiety surrounding COVID-19 can lead to stigma toward others," she said. "I encourage everyone to be informed and only share factual public health information without fear or stigmatization."

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is designed to protect patient medical records, McGann said.

"According to the HIPAA journal, during a health emergency, such as a disease outbreak, HIPAA guidelines still apply," she said. "While some guidelines are relaxed, it is still important to protect patient information."

Therefore, McGann said, she will not share the name of the employee who has been diagnosed or provide further information that could identify the individual.

McGann said it remains important to stay at home at this time.

"Our schools are closed," she said. "Playgrounds are closed. It is important to follow the guidelines and limit public interactions and social gatherings. Thank you for all that you have been doing to keep our community safe and our students supported."

McGann said that if she receives any information from the Hunterdon County Health Department that directly affects students, staff or the community, she will pass it on. The department can be reached at 908-788-1351, health@co.hunterdon.nj.us and www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/health.html.