First presumptive positive case of coronavirus announced in Camden County

County health officials say a Camden County male in his 60s had a positive sample tested by the New Jersey Department of Health at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories.

The Camden County Department of Health announced the first presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus in Camden County on Friday afternoon.

The Department of Health said the individual is a male Camden County resident, in his 60s and is currently hospitalized at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital in stable condition.

Jefferson officials confirmed the patient is currently being treated at their Cherry Hill hospital. Officials did not release details on the patient, but confirmed he is in isolation.

“Jefferson providers are specially trained to handle a wide variety of infectious diseases, including this one, and are prepared to deliver safe, efficient and patient-friendly care to all who walk through our doors,” officials said in a statement. “We are working with local and state partners on monitoring procedures for those who interacted with this patient.”

“While we know that any case of coronavirus presents a cause for concern for our residents, we want to emphasize that this case only reemphasizes the need to follow personal hygiene guidelines vigilantly, this should not be a cause for panic and the risk to the general public remains low,” Health Officer Paschal Nwako said. “Our department has been planning and preparing for several weeks for the possibility of a case of coronavirus in Camden County, and residents can rest assured that we are prepared to act swiftly and protect the health of our community.”

The Department of Health is currently coordinating with the New Jersey Department of Health, the Governor’s Office, and other state, local, and federal partners to ensure a comprehensive and appropriate response to the ongoing public health threat presented by coronavirus.

The presumptive positive result came from a sample tested by the New Jersey Department of Health at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories and is now being submitted to the CDC for confirmatory testing.

The Camden County Health Department is currently working with the NJDOH to trace close contacts of this individual and to take additional public health actions as appropriate.

“Given recent developments in surrounding areas, this does not come as a surprise to our personnel, and we have already put plans in place so that our response can begin immediately,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services. “At this time, the most important thing for the public to recognize is that the general health risk to the public remains low. The best way to protect yourself is not to buy or wear face masks, but to practice appropriate social distancing, avoiding contact with those who appear visibly ill, and to adhere to recommended personal hygiene practices.”

The best way to prevent the spread and contraction of coronavirus is practicing good personal hygiene:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly, and often, with soap and water for 20 seconds;
  • Stay home when you’re sick;
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick;
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue; and
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.

The NJDOH has partnered with the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System to open and operate a call center (1-800) 222-1222 for public use regarding questions, concerns, and other information related to coronavirus spread in New Jersey. More information is also available on the state’s coronavirus webpage at https://nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml. 

Information regarding Camden County’s preparations, response and general information provided to the public is available by visiting camdencounty.com. Residents should frequently check the county webpage and social media for up-to-date information.