SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – A statement released by the Sussex County Health Officer James McDonald late today confirmed the first three cases of coronavirus in the county.  Sparta Township, Vernon Township and Frankford Township each have a resident that tested positive.

McDonald’s notice, posted to the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office/ Office of Emergency Management Facebook page around 5:50 p.m. advises “The Sussex County Department of Health has been working to identify individuals who came into contact with these residents.”

Without any additional information about where the three patients live and work or have traveled, McDonald’s note said, “Anyone identified as a close contact, per New Jersey Department of Health guidelines, is directed to self-quarantine and is being monitored by SCDOH.”

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No additional information is available at this time because the notification was made after the Sussex County Department of Health had closed.

A call to the Sheriff's Department where the count Office of Emergency Management is located resulted in the advice to “call the health department tomorrow during business hours.”

Sparta Police Chief Neil Spidaletto, who heads up the Office of Emergency Management for Sparta said he had gotten some information that was only released to First Responders, in case they needed to respond to a call.

There are no answers to questions related to the health and safety of residents in the county, including where the known patients were tested and are being treated, how they may have contracted the virus and who should be quarantining because of potential contact. 

Efforts to confirm information about the Sussex County cases earlier today were met with a dearth of information. A clerk at the Sussex County Department of Health said she “hadn’t heard anything about it.”

Amy Maul from the Sussex County Public Health Nursing Department also said they had no information and referred to the New Jersey Department of Health website.  That dashboard showed cases in Sussex County as of 7 p.m.

The Morris County Office of Emergency Management said they "don’t have that information” and suggested a call to Morristown Medical Center, “They probably have the information there.”  

Before McDonald posted his notice, Sen. Steve Oroho was able to confirm the three cases in the county, but did not have any additional information.