By Associated Press - Thursday, March 12, 2020

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey health officials said Thursday there are six new cases of COVID-19 in the state, bringing to 29 the number of people who have tested positive, including a 16-year-old girl.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said there was little information on the teen case, except that she is from Englewood in Bergen County, and was tested through a private commercial lab, not the state facility.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also said that all gatherings of more than 250 people should be canceled in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We have to accept that as the response to the virus continues there will be disruption in our daily lives,” Persichilli said at a briefing on Thursday in Ewing.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced Thursday that all new jury trials would be suspended until further notice.



For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

So far in New Jersey, one person has died of the virus.

NEW CASES

In addition to the teen, Persichilli said the new cases included: a 66-year-old woman from Montclair in Essex County, who is hospitalized at Mountainside Medical Center; a 51-year-old man from Butler in Morris County who was determined to have been exposed to the virus; a 23-year-old man from Bridgewater in Somerset County, who may have been exposed through close contact with a Pennsylvania resident who tested positive; a 53-year-old man from Manalpan in Monmouth County, who had been exposed to a confirmed positive case; and a woman from Teaneck in Bergen County, whose age is unknown and who was exposed at a synagogue carnival earlier this month.

Persichilli also said the Health Department has begun assigning risk categories to counties across the state: Most face no to minimal risk she said. Bergen County, though, which has seen the most cases in the state, faces a “moderate” risk of exposure to the virus.

Overall, she said, officials believe there is a low risk of exposure in New Jersey.

LIMITING LARGE GATHERINGS

Gov. Murphy, a Democrat, said sporting events, parades and concerts with more than 250 people should be canceled. He stopped short of ordering the cancellation of all such events, but state police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said the governor has the authority to cancel those events under the state emergency declaration he declared earlier this week.

In addition to suspending new jury trials - which bring together hundreds of people at a time for jury selection - Rabner ordered courts to stagger schedules for some proceedings to minimize crowds and to conduct some hearings and proceedings remotely.

SCHOOL CLOSURES

Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet said one school district in the state has closed because of a positive COVID-19 test of someone in a district school, though he didn’t identify the school.

He said a number of other districts across the state were also closing because of the virus, including 12 that closed for cleaning and nine others for possible exposure to a coronavirus case.

He also said there were three other districts closing because someone came into contact with a person who tested positive.

RACE TRACK CLOSED

Freehold Raceway said it’s temporarily stopping operations because a person who was there over the weekend was in contact with someone who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The horse track said the person who attended the track on March 7 has not tested positive for the virus. Track officials said that live racing scheduled for this week and next would be canceled, and it’s not clear when it might resume.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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