‘The coronavirus is among us’ – 8 new ‘presumptive positive’ cases of virus detected in NJ

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New Jersey health officials have confirmed eight new “presumptive positive” cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in New Jersey, bringing the total number of cases to 23.

Officials say that the new cases include three women and five men who range in age from 17-66 years old. There are four cases in Bergen County, two in Middlesex County and two in Monmouth County.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli says that in two of the cases the patients are not linked to any other coronavirus patients or linked to any coronavirus “hot spots.”

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"Community spread indicates, that the coronavirus is among us,” Persichilli said.

 
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The New Jersey Department of Health is waiting on the results of 20 more COVID-19 tests and will be testing 17 more people. Officials say that the state lab can handle up to 400 tests, but they say that extra staff has been ordered in.

Health officials still say that the risk to the public of contracting the virus is low. But they say that they are concerned about the two cases that do not seem to be linked to other coronavirus cases.

“Many of our communicable diseases we don’t ever identify a source. So where else could they have come from? From the community,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan. “However, what we’re concerned about is looking at sustained spread, sustained community spread, in the community where then we kind of have to reconsider or kind of reinforce those community mitigation efforts.”

State officials also said that visitors at long-term care and pediatric facilities are being heavily restricted to protect the vulnerable population.

They said that further community spread could trigger more restrictions similar to the ones seen in New York and Washington state and that it could cause a surge of cases at state hospitals.

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