With two cases of coronavirus in Bergen County, a new case in Camden County, and another two in New York City, Hudson County is bracing itself for an outbreak.
On Friday, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Hudson County over coronavirus. The order will allow the county to circumvent the normal procedures put in place for making purchases, allowing officials to quickly buy protective gear and medical supplies, county spokesman James Kennelly said.
“There is no precipitating current crisis in terms of public health, but there is a possibility of such a crisis developing,” Kennelly said. “You declare the potential state of emergency so it’s ready and in place so you’re ready to rapidly respond.”
On March 4, the federal Department of Health and Human Services announced $1.75 million in aid to New Jersey to combat the spread of the virus. New Jersey has suspended all official international travel, and state employees traveling to other states must get approval from the governor’s office.
In a Thursday press conference in which officials confirmed the second case of Covid-19, Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver urged calm. “Our state has been prepared for weeks for the eventuality that one of our residents would test positive for Coronavirus,” Oliver said. “The threat to public health in New Jersey remains low.”
State Department of Health spokeswoman Janelle Fleming said that, as of Friday, a total of 21 people had been tested in New Jersey, with 18 testing negative and three presumptive positive. The department was still awaiting CDC confirmation for those three cases, Fleming said.
Area hospitals are preparing for a possible outbreak to reach Hudson County. Hudson Regional Hospital has also been running drills and stocking up on protective gear, Director of Emergency Medicine Dr. Alexander Sarenac said. If we suspect someone has the coronavirus, we are immediately placing a mask on them, isolating them in an isolation room,” Sarenac said. We will determine whether they need to be admitted or just tested.
He noted that so far, the hospital has not tested anyone for the coronavirus.
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