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New Jersey reports 1st death in case of the coronavirus

March 11, 2020 GMT

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey officials announced the state’s first death stemming from the coronavirus on Tuesday and said the number of cases climbed from 11 to 15.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said the person who died was a 69-year-old hospitalized in Bergen County who had underlying medical conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure, she said.

He had no travel outside of the United States but had had gone back and forth to New York state, where there are more than 150 cases. It is not yet known where exactly he traveled in New York.

The update came as universities said they are canceling some classes and urging students to take online courses.

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.

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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. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.

A closer look at the latest developments in New Jersey:

DEATH AND NEW CASES

The man who died had not been previously reported as a positive case in New Jersey, official said. Persichilli said he reported to his primary care doctor about a week ago with a fever and cough. He had been hospitalized at Hackensack University Medical Center in suburban New York.

There was also another new positive case reported in Bergen County. Two more cases were identified as a 62-year-old man and 60-year-old woman in Riverton, Burlington County, right outside Philadelphia..

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EMERGENCY DECLARATION, FEE WAIVERS

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy late Monday declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency in response to the viral outbreak. The declaration, he said, makes it easier the state to coordinate emergency services.

Murphy on Tuesday also waived fees for medically necessary COVID-19 tests for more than 2 million state residents whose health insurance plans the state oversees. Some employer-based insurers, including Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, have taken similar steps.

Just over half of the state’s residents have insurance through their employers, according to Jerrel Harvey, a spokesman for the governor.

UNIVERSITIES REACT

Rutgers University said Tuesday it’s canceling classes on Thursday and Friday and will move all classes online when students return from spring break March 23. The online courses will continue until at least April 3.

Stockton University said it was extending spring break until March 24 and that from March 25 through Sunday, April 5, it will begin holding classes online. Campus will remain open and resources will be available, but students are encouraged “to continue their studies at home,” the university said in a statement.

On Monday, Princeton University restricted large gatherings and urged students to remain home after spring break and take classes online.

NO COMMUNITY SPREAD

Persichilli said state and local health officials have not seen evidence of so-called community spread of the virus. That’s where the virus goes from person to person without someone having come into contact with a known person who had exposure.

She said if the state does see that, more mitigation efforts would begin to be put in place. Currently, she said the state is evaluating mitigation efforts, and some have begun to be put in place at the county level in Bergen.

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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 APis solely responsible for all content