Bergen County declares state of emergency amid multiple coronavirus cases

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Bergen County officials have declared a state of emergency in the county after multiple people in the county contracted coronavirus COVID-19, including a 69-year-old Little Ferry man who died from the illness.

County Executive Jim Tedesco says that he wants to share information with his residents and not cause a panic. As of Tuesday evening, there were seven “presumptive positive” cases of coronavirus in the county, out of the 15 cases statewide. Tedesco says that the state of emergency will allow officials to take the necessary steps to keep residents safe and to prevent further spread of the virus.

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Under the announcement, Bergen County Health Care Center in Rockleigh, which services elderly patients, will prohibit visitors. The same rule will apply to long-term care facility Bergen Newbridge Medical Center

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County-run schools, including special services and vocational schools will be closed for two weeks. Tedesco says that this is because students from these schools come from all over the state. But officials did say that no one from the county schools has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

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Bergen Community College will extend its spring break through the end of next week, and officials are considering holding online classes.

Tedesco and Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo offered their condolences to the family of the man who died. And they say that they are taking all the necessary precautions to protect the public.

MORE: Coronavirus details from the CDC

"We are from New Jersey, we’re tough, we’re strong, we’re resilient and we’ll get through this,” Tedesco said, “But we need to take steps in order to get through this and these are just the first steps."

"While it may be shocking and this may be frightening - to the residents of Little Ferry, I’m telling you, we’re going to get through this. Let’s work together. Let’s not panic. Let’s take all the precautions necessary, as we've been doing last few weeks,” Raguseo said.

Tedesco said that the state of emergency will remain in place until the threat of the virus is believed to be over.

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