Fort Lee man is first in NJ to test positive for coronavirus

A 32-year-old man from Fort Lee is the first person in New Jersey to test positive for the coronavirus.

The patient is in stable condition and has been hospitalized at Hackensack University Medical Center since Tuesday, according to hospital officials.

A sample from the patient tested positive for coronavirus at the state’s Public Health Environmental Laboratories, but the case is considered presumptive until results are confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

“Please rest assured that our team of dedicated health care providers is taking every precaution in treating this isolated patient,” said Hackensack Meridian Health’s Chief Physician Dr. Daniel Varga in a statement, adding, “our patient is resting comfortably and doing well.”

Varga said the hospital is following CDC protocols including patient isolation, visitor restrictions and use of dedicated equipment and personal protective equipment for health care workers.

State officials are proceeding with a public health investigation while they await confirmation from the CDC.

“My administration is working aggressively to keep residents safe and contain the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “We 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.”

“Any case of novel coronavirus in our state is concerning,” said state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, but added, “most New Jersey residents are at very low risk of contracting COVID-19.”