Atlantic, Cape May counties report confirmed COVID-19 cases

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Thursday, March 19, 2020
Action News coverage of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak

NEW JERSEY (WPVI) -- Both Atlantic and Cape May counties in New Jersey have reported their first confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

The patient is currently being treated at home while health officials conduct further investigations.

"While this is unfortunate news, it is not unexpected," County Executive Dennis Levinson said in a statement. "All 50 states now have COVID-19 cases and the numbers will increase as more testing occurs."

"But there is no reason to panic. Health officials continue to emphasize that 80% of cases will be mild or moderate with full recoveries expected. The deeper concern is for those with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems," he said. "We must all remain vigilant and cooperate with the directives issued by our federal, state and local health officials to protect the health and safety of our communities."

Officials said those who were in direct contact with him will be notified and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days as directed by guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control.

They said a commercial lab confirmed the positive test results late Tuesday.

Atlantic County Health Officer Patricia Diamond says residents are reminded to stay home if they are sick, avoid crowds, practice safe hygiene practices, and continue to sanitize and disinfect common areas and shared items.

Those who are ill with mild symptoms are asked to isolate themselves at home and treat their symptoms with over-the-counter medications, rest and fluids.

Officials said anyone who has a fever, dry cough and shortness of breath and who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or traveled to one of the communities with larger numbers of cases should seek medical attention by calling their healthcare provider.

Like all those throughout the state and country, residents should continue to exercise social distancing, avoid crowds and social gatherings of 10 or more.

Anyone with questions may call the state hotlines at 1-800-222-1222 (from in-state phone) or 1-800-962-1253 (from out-of-state phone). The call center is available 24/7 with multi-language capabilities, but cannot diagnose individuals, provide testing appointments or results, or give specific medical recommendations. Callers who need medical advice should contact their healthcare provider.

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