Governor Phil Murphy

Governor Murphy, Acting Governor Oliver, and Commissioner Persichilli Identify Second Presumptive Positive Case of Novel Coronavirus in New Jersey

03/5/2020

Murphy Administration Also Announced Travel Restrictions for State-Related Business Travel for State Employees

EWING – Governor Phil Murphy, Acting Governor Sheila Oliver, and New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli today identified the second presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in New Jersey. The individual, a female in her 30s, is a Bergen County resident. The individual, who has mild symptoms, had her specimen collected at Englewood Hospital and is isolating at home until the New Jersey Department of Health deems her medically cleared.

The Administration also announced immediate restrictions on state-related business travel for state employees. Out of an abundance of caution, the State suspended all international travel for state employees until further notice. All domestic out-of-state travel on state-related business must be approved by the Governor’s Office, including same-day travel. 

“Since learning about the widespread novel coronavirus last month, my Administration has been actively engaged in implementing precautionary measures, as well as a comprehensive preparedness and rapid response plan to contain the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “While we have identified our second presumptive positive case, New Jersey residents should remain calm and vigilant in their personal efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. By working in tandem with our state agencies, federal partners, and local authorities, we are confident in our ability to respond expeditiously to additional positive cases of COVID-19.”

“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,” said Acting Governor Sheila Oliver. “We put a plan in place for preparedness and rapid response and the threat to the public remains low.”

The presumptive positive result came from a sample tested by the New Jersey Department of Health at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories (PHEL) and is now being submitted to the CDC for confirmatory testing. State and local public health authorities are proceeding with the public health investigation and response activities as if this was a confirmed case. The hospital is working closely with the Department of Health and continues to follow all infectious disease protocols. Working with the local health department, the New Jersey Department of Health is tracing close contacts of this individual and is taking appropriate public health actions. The investigation is underway and more information will be released when it becomes available. As of this afternoon, the state Public Health and Environmental Labs have tested a total of 13 people, 11 tested negative and two tested positive.

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

The first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in New Jersey was announced on March 4. The individual, a male in his 30s, is hospitalized in Bergen County and has been hospitalized since March 3.

The New Jersey Department of Health has been working to prepare for and respond to the evolving novel coronavirus since early January. The Department shared state and CDC guidance with hospitals, local health officials, K-12 schools, universities and businesses; established a novel coronavirus webpage; partnered with the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) to open a call center (1-800-222-1222) for the public; hosted stakeholder teleconferences; and continues coordinating state efforts weekly with the New Jersey Coronavirus Task Force chaired by Commissioner Persichilli.

To date, the 24/7 NJPIES hotline (1-800-222-1222) has received more than 1,421 calls from the public and can accommodate callers in multiple languages.  Click here for more information on novel coronavirus.