One year later: A timeline of the early days of the COVID-19 crisis in New Jersey
Thursday marks one year since
the first COVID-19 case was reported in New Jersey.
James Cai, of Fort Lee, was eventually
admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center, spending 19 days there. Gov.
Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency just five days after Cai tested
positive, with the virus spreading to five counties across New Jersey on March
The next day, state officials announced the state’s first coronavirus
death -- 69-year-old John Brennan, who had a number of underlying health
issues. He went to his doctor just a week before with a fever and cough, but
was admitted to the hospital just days later. Brennan was isolated and his
condition quickly deteriorated. He died of a heart attack March 10.
The state began shutting down
two days later. Public school districts
began closing, and the Newark Archdioceses
canceled Sunday Mass.
Gov. Murphy recommended
against large gatherings, including concerts and sporting events. Jury trials
were suspended until further notice.
By March 21, the governor
ordered all non-essential businesses to close indefinitely, and a statewide
curfew starting at 9 p.m.
By the end of the month, the World Health Organization declared the
coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.