HACKENSACK, N.J. — A corrections officer with the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has tested positive for coronavirus, COVID-19, according to state health officials.
Following the officer’s diagnosis, the officer was ordered to self-quarantine for the next two weeks. The officer’s presumptive-positive test is being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.
Seven corrections officers who were in close contact with the officer who tested positive were also asked to self-quarantine as a precaution. Medical staff at the Bergen County Jail are closely monitoring inmates who may have been exposed to the potentially deadly virus.
Currently, no inmates or ICE detainees have displayed symptoms of COVID-19.
As of Monday, March 16, there have been 61 reported cases of coronavirus in Bergen County.
“With the spread of this virus, it has become increasingly clear that those who are dedicated to serving in public capacities during this health crisis, including law enforcement and healthcare professionals, are at greater risk of exposure,” said Sheriff Anthony Cureton. “My administration is doing everything in our power to mitigate the spread of this virus with several precautions aimed at protecting our officers and those in our care at the Bergen County Jail. The fact of the matter is, inmates and detainees are less likely to contract COVID-19 than the general public since the jail is a self-contained environment. However, staff at the jail is taking all necessary steps to mitigate exposure from this single incident.”
Over the past two weeks, Cureton has ordered his administration to take several proactive measures to prepare for and mitigate the spread of the virus including distributing various cleaning agents like bleach-based solution to sanitize floors and hand sanitizer and soap in every housing unit at the jail; implementing a rotational, out-of-cell schedule to practice social distancing; increasing sanitation frequency; modifying the intake process for all incoming detainees and inmates for screening purposes to decipher any out-of-country travel; and indefinitely postponing all tours of the Bergen County Jail.
The officer's diagnosis marks the second case of COVID-19 that has been announced in Hackensack. The first was a 49-year-old woman earlier this week who tested positive for the virus at a nearby hospital, and was sent home to self-quarantine until recovered.
Apart from frequent hand washing and social distancing to curb the spread of the virus, city officials are also advising residents to stay home “as much as possible” to limit potential exposure, Mayor John Labrosse said.
Residents concerned about Coronavirus are encouraged to call the Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or visit nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml.