NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The Aldi on Van Dyke Avenue was out of hand soap.
The George Street Co-Op on Morris Street sold its last tub of disinfectant wipes.
The Walgreens on Jersey Avenue had empty shelves where once bottles of Lysol spray and household 70% isopropyl alcohol were lined in rows.
“We're out of hand sanitizer, facemasks and bottled water," said Katrina Mahoney, the store manager at Walgreens. "We had a rush on that stuff."
The rush to guard against the spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) was evident on the shelves of the shops and supermarkets across the city.
It seems residents here have taken heed of Gov. Phil Murphy's declaration of a state of emergency in the state of New Jersey - which brings with it a suggestion that residents stock up on a 14-day supply of food and medicine.
Those responding to the warning include people such as Rosa, who was loading up her basket with canned soup and fruit juice.
"I don't want to panic, I want to stay calm," she said, "but I want to make sure we have what we need in the house. No one is sure what will happen."
Murphy's office reported the first coronavirus-related death Tuesday. A 69-year-old man identified as a horse trainer from Bergen County died after being hospitalized since last week at Hackensack University Medical Center, according to state officials.
The state announced that it was investigating two possible cases of caronavirus cases in Middlesex County. However, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital or Saint Peter's University Hospital.
"Guided by our commitment to ensure the health and safety of all patients, employees and clinicians, we are following the current direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NJ Department of Health," according to a statement provided to TAPinto New Brunswick by RWJUH. "The RWJBarnabas Health Special Pathogens Committee meets daily and has a secure communication line system wide. A full inventory of isolation facilities and personal protective equipment has been conducted and prepared for use if necessary. We continue to remain at high alert to protect our patients, employees, clinicians and our communities."
New Brunswick Police Department is asking residents to contact them if they encounter anyone who claims to be from the CDC.
According to police, the CDC is not deploying teams to the city or beyond.
At Rutgers, the fallout from the imminent shutdown called by university president Robert Barchi on Tuesday continues. With students already beginning to leave the campus, one of the school's biggest social and fundraising events has been called off.
The Rutgers University Dance Marathon, which has raised millions of dollars over the years for charity, has been canceled.
According to a post on the marathon Facebook page, “While we will no longer be able to gather together in the (Rutgers Athletic Center) to celebrate this wonderful community of Rutgers students, patient families and faithful supporters, we remain committed to continuing our fundraising efforts to ensure that we can make a generous donation to benefit our Embrace Kids Foundation families."