FORT LEE, N.J. (WCBS 880) — New Jersey officials announced late Friday that there are four presumed positive cases of novel coronavirus in the state.
The fourth person is a man in his 50s who is currently being hospitalized at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Bergen County. He’s been hospitalized since March 5.
On Saturday, Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver said the man's case is connected to a cluster of cases in New Rochelle.
Oliver also said 15 more people are under investigation for the virus in New Jersey.
Earlier on Friday, the governor’s office identified the third case in the state as a man in his 60s who is being hospitalized in Camden County.
That sample was tested by the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories and is being sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.
"State and local public health authorities are proceeding with the public health investigation and response activities as if this was a confirmed case and following all infectious disease protocols," officials said in a statement.
Now that coronavirus has reached the Garden State, lawmakers are looking to stop the spread of misinformation and hate.
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports, the presence of coronavirus in a town can cause some people to look at their neighbors differently and begin to avoid certain businesses. But, Fort Lee leaders want to make sure that doesn’t begin happening.
New Jersey’s Acting Governor Sheila Oliver says health officials expect to see more cases in the state are the virus continues to spread globally.
Worry has already set in for residents in Fort Lee, where a 32-year-old man was confirmed to have the virus.
“There's hardly no traffic on this road. No one wants to go out anymore,” one resident told Haskell.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich says that fact is concerning to him and he is insisting the community continue business as usual.
“Any and all events that were on the schedule, whether it's basketball games, whether it's meetings at the library, or what have you, that will continue,” he said.
He is also worried about hate crimes increasing as a result of the virus.
Mayor Sokolich encouraged residents to be diligent and look out for their neighbors.
“If there are any acts of bias, any acts of bias whatsoever, they are to be reported to our police department,” he said.
The borough has a diverse population of about 40,000 people and Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli believes there is a low risk for people to contract the coronavirus.
New Jersey has 700 rooms capable of isolating patients in hospitals across the state, if needed, and last month Murphy set up a task force to prepare for handling the virus.
Residents can get more information by calling the state's hotline at 1-800-222-1222 any time of the day or by visiting nj.gov/health.