N.J. health officials confirm the state’s 1st positive test of new coronavirus

FILE- In this March 2, 2020 file photo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, right, is joined by Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, center, during a news conference in Ewing, N.J., Monday, March 2, 2020. On Wednesday, March 4, 2020, Murphy, Persichilli and Acting Governor Sheila Oliver announced the first presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in New Jersey. The individual, a male in his 30s, is hospitalized in Bergen County and has been hospitalized since March 3. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE- In this March 2, 2020 file photo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, right, is joined by Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, center, during a news conference in Ewing, N.J., Monday, March 2, 2020. On Wednesday, March 4, 2020, Murphy, Persichilli and Acting Governor Sheila Oliver announced the first presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in New Jersey. The individual, a male in his 30s, is hospitalized in Bergen County and has been hospitalized since March 3. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

A man in his 30s who is hospitalized in Bergen County has New Jersey’s first positive test for COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Wednesday.

State health officials have sent the results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the case, Murphy said.

“We take this situation very seriously and have been preparing for this for weeks,” Murphy said in the statement. “I urge residents to remain calm and use resources from the New Jersey Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to prepare and prevent the spread of infection.”

Local and state health officials are tracing the man’s contacts and “taking appropriate public health actions,” Murphy said.

The patient has been hospitalized since March 3. He was tested by the state Department of Health at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories.

The development came the same day that federal health officials said they were providing the state with $1.75 million in what they called initial funding to respond to the virus in New Jersey. The U.S. House also passed an $8.3 billion bipartisan bill to combat the virus earlier Wednesday.

Murphy said Tuesday that the state was preparing for the likelihood that the state would see a case at some point. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the state has 700 rooms capable of isolating patients in hospitals across the state, if needed.

Murphy last month set up a task force to prepare for handling the virus, and Persichilli said a crisis management team has been meeting daily.

Pennsylvania and Delaware have no confirmed cases of coronavirus. The Philadelphia Health Department is currently investigating one case for COVID-19, and maintains that the current risk of infection to the average city resident is low.

The U.S. has more than 120 cases in at least 15 states, with 11 deaths, all but one of them in Washington state.

China accounted for the overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 94,000 infections and 3,200 deaths since the virus first surfaced there in late December.

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