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Fort Lee Man, 32, At HUMC Is NJ's First Presumed Coronavirus Patient

Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack University Medical Center Photo Credit: HUMC

New Jersey's first presumed coronavirus patient is being hospitalized at Hackensack University Medical Center, authorities confirmed.

The 32-year-old Fort Lee man has been hospitalized since Tuesday following what state officials said is a "presumptive positive result" of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

The case was first confirmed to staffers in an email from Daniel W. Varga, chief physician executive of Hackensack Meridian Health, which operates HUMC (below).

The email confirming the coronavirus case at HUMC.

Hackensack Meridian Health

The positive test result came from one conducted in the state's health department and will go to the Centers for Disease Control for "confirmatory testing," Gov. Phil Murphy and Acting Governor Sheila Oliver said in a joint statement.

Although the case hasn't yet been confirmed by the CDC, state officials are treating it as if it were.


UPDATE: New Jersey's second presumed coronavirus patient is at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, state officials announced Thursday.


Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco said he's "been in contact with [Fort Lee] Mayor [Mark] Sokolich and have offered the full support of county government. Our Bergen County health officer has been in contact with the local health officer offering any assistance they made need."

Members of a task force led by Sokolich and Tedesco met Thursday morning for "purposes of discussing next steps, mobilizing resources and to prepare for the results of the medical investigation which is now ongoing," the mayor said in a statement.

"The Borough of Fort Lee is prepared to preserve the health, safety and welfare of its residents and we will continue to provide information as it becomes available," the mayor said. "We urge people to remain calm, not spread fear and panic, and be assured that all available resources are being deployed and devoted to addressing this issue."

Murphy, meanwhile, said state officials "take this situation very seriously and have been preparing for this for weeks. 

"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," the governor said.

The Department of Health on Monday released a set of guidelines for schools in case of a coronavirus outbreak.

Officials on Wednesday afternoon asked any New Jerseyans who attended religious events at a Westchester synagogue to self-quarantine until this Sunday.

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