BASKING RIDGE, NJ -- With news of the coronavirus originating in China now reaching a critical mass in terms of worldwide attention, the Bernards Township Health Department on Monday issued a statement in response to the outbreak:

The Bernards Township Health Department is working to coordinate public health disease response in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local hospitals, medical providers, and emergency medical service to respond to a new emerging coronavirus 2019-nCoV, which originated from Wuhan, China. So far there have been 5 confirmed United States cases (none of which are in New Jersey) with other ongoing investigations.

While the CDC considers the coronavirus 2019-nCoV to be a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk from the 2019-nCoV to the American public is considered low at this time. Outbreaks of novel (new) virus infections among people are always a public health concern, but regular training prepares public health staff and partners to handle emerging disease outbreaks like the 2019-nCoV.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are several known coronaviruses that infect people, and these usually only cause mild respiratory diseases, such as the common cold. However, at least two previously identified coronaviruses have caused severe disease – severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Symptoms of the 2019-nCoV include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. There are currently no proven treatments or vaccines for this respiratory disease, so it is important to contact your doctor if you have traveled and are experiencing any of these symptoms. For more information on coronaviruses, please visit and

Since it is cold and flu season, you may experience similar symptoms to the coronavirus. Unless you have traveled to the affected areas in the world, there is little concern for exposure to 2019-nCoV. As with all respiratory illnesses, it is good practice to wash your hands often, stay away from people that appear ill, or have been ill and stay home if you are sick.

The Bernards Township Health Department is the contractual health agency serving Bernards Township, Bernardsville Borough, Chester Borough, Long Hill Township, Mendham Borough, and Peapack and Gladstone Borough. For more information, visit: