Officials: Patient in 2nd ‘presumptive positive’ coronavirus case is Bergen County woman in her 30s

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The second person in New Jersey to have a “presumptive positive” case of coronavirus COVID-19 is a Bergen County woman in her 30s, according to state health officials.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced the second case during a news conference Thursday afternoon. Officials now say that the woman had mild symptoms and went to Englewood Hospital to be checked out. She is now “isolating at home” until she is medically cleared.

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The woman, who was not identified, is the second person in the state to contract the virus. The first person is a 32-year-old Fort Lee man who is at Hackensack University Medical Center in stable condition. It was not immediately clear how the two contracted the illness.

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Officials say that the presumptive positive results came from samples tested by the New Jersey Department of Health at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories. Those samples have now been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for official federal testing. The CDC will then make the final diagnosis.

“These two cases of COVID-19 do not come as a surprise, as our state has been prepared, for weeks, for the eventuality that one of our residents would test positive for the coronavirus,” Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver said in a statement. “We put a plan in place for preparedness and rapid response and the threat to the public remains low.”

State officials also announced that the state is suspending all international travel for state employees until further notice. The governor’s office must also approve all domestic out-of-state travel on state-related business for state employees.

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“As we said in the past, we would not be surprised to see cases in New Jersey,” Persichilli said. “But most New Jersey residents are at very low risk of contracting COVID-19. “We are taking all available steps to protect our residents.”

Persichilli reiterated that the state is prepared for a potential outbreak of the illness. She urged people to follow the same guidelines they normally would follow to prevent the spread of any sickness - mainly washing their hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, and covering their mouths when they cough and sneeze. She also recommended using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness with symptoms similar to the common cold. It can be deadly - mostly to people who are elderly or in poor health.

New Jersey has set up a coronavirus hotline for concerned residents. The number for that hotline is 1-800-222-1222.

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