TAPinto Holmdel/Colts Neck and TAPinto Middletown Readers: Local swab testing for the coronavirus (COVID -19) will be available soon at IMA Hazlet Urgent Care, 3253 Route 35 Hazlet, NJ 07730 (732) 888-7646 

NEW JERSEY – The first case of new coronavirus in New Jersey was discovered earlier this week in Bergen County. The first confirmed case is a 32-year-old man from Fort Lee NJ. He is being kept in isolation at Hackensack University Medical Center. 

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On Thursday, March 5th, officials said that they learned of a second case and did not yet know whether it was linked to the first. Both cases are still being researched, but officials said late Thursday that the patient is a woman who was showing mild symptoms. It is reported that she is also from Bergen County and is in her 30's. It was reported that she was tested at Englewood Health, in Bergen County. A hospital spokesperson commented that the woman had been released and was currently self-quarantined.

The House of Representatives and Senate have passed extensive, bipartisan legislation to stem the threat of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, and help fund the development of new testing, prevention and treatment methods. 

“I am pleased to support and vote for this $8.3 billion emergency appropriations bill to provide an added infusion of funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies already working to protect US citizens,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) the ranking member of the House subcommittee on global health. “This comprehensive bill, and the widespread support it received, will help expedite funding for testing, prevention and treatment,” Smith said. “Prevention is, as they say, worth a pound of cure, and the better we can prevent and contain COVID-19 from spreading, the less impact it will have on our communities.”

The House approved the measure, HR 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, in a 415-2 vote Wednesday night. The Senate passed the House bill 96-1 Thursday. It now heads to President Trump for his signature and final enactment.

“The legislation will help support the development and manufacturing of vaccines and other medical supplies, as well as grants for state and local public health agencies and organizations,” Smith said.  “It also provides loans for affected small businesses, and funds evacuations and emergency preparedness activities at U.S. embassies and other State Department facilities, humanitarian assistance and support for health systems in the affected countries abroad.” Commented Smith.

Governor Phil Murphy, Acting Governor Sheila Oliver, and New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli  had announced the first NJ case on Wednesday evening, March 4, calling it the first presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in New Jersey.

“My Administration is working aggressively to keep residents safe and contain the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey,” Murphy said. “We take this situation very seriously and have been preparing for this for weeks. I urge residents to remain calm and use resources from the New Jersey Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to prepare and prevent the spread of infection. Safeguarding the public’s health is one of my highest priorities and my Administration is prepared to respond swiftly to any additional positive cases of COVID-19 here in New Jersey.”

“Our Administration has been coordinating across all levels of government, and with our federal partners, to ensure that we are active and engaged with preparedness and response plan,” said Acting Governor Oliver. “We urge all New Jersey residents to follow guidance from the New Jersey Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to help contain the spread of COVID-19.”

“Any case of novel coronavirus in our state is concerning, however most New Jersey residents are at very low risk of contracting COVID-19,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “The Department is working closely with the CDC and local health officials to respond and is monitoring the evolving situation across the nation.”

The New Jersey Department of Health has been working to prepare for and respond to the evolving novel coronavirus since early January. The Department shared state and CDC guidance with hospitals, local health officials, K-12 schools, universities and businesses; established a novel coronavirus webpage; partnered with the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) to open a call center (1-800-222-1222) for the public; hosted stakeholder teleconferences; and continues coordinating state efforts weekly with the New Jersey Coronavirus Task Force chaired by Commissioner Persichilli. New Jersey Department of Health COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care and K-12 Schools can be read HERE. 

To date, the 24/7 NJPIES hotline (1-800-222-1222) has received more than 1,195 calls from the public and can accommodate callers in multiple languages. 

Click here for more information on novel coronavirus.