Coronavirus in Bergen County


Jacqueline Kim, Staff Writer

On February 25th, the first positive diagnosis of the coronavirus in Bergen County was confirmed. 

The Fort Lee patient arrived at the Hackensack University Medical Center that evening and tested positive after exhibiting symptoms that had suggested that he was a carrier of the virus. Since then, residents throughout Bergen County have grown more and more concerned about the spread of the virus, especially as more and more cases have sprung up, not only in the various counties of New Jersey but in our very own towns as well. There have been two cases in Teaneck, two cases in Englewood, one case in Hackensack, one case in Little Ferry, and the first case in Fort Lee, making a total of seven cases in Bergen County among the 15 cases in all of New Jersey. 

On Tuesday, March 10th, the first official death from the coronavirus in the entire Northeast was announced. A 69-year-old man from Little Ferry in Bergen County was confirmed dead as of Tuesday morning/afternoon. After seeing his doctor with flu-like symptoms a week prior, the patient was tested for the virus on Saturday, March 7th, and the test came back positive. The carrier was reported to have a history of medical problems (diabetes, high blood pressure, emphysema) and was recorded as the seventh case in Bergen County, among the 15 people who tested positive in New Jersey. His announced death, as well as the surge in positive cases, has continued to spread fear throughout the nation (and world) regarding the seemingly uncontainable virus. As of right now, an additional 31 residents remain under examination, with another 20 tests being processed in Bergen County alone. 

Officials in New Jersey have announced a state of emergency in response to the spreading coronavirus. This will be the first state-wide emergency declaration since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Residents have been advised to remain prepared in cases in which self-quarantine would be required. This would include households stocking 14-days worth of food and medicine and general supplies in extreme cases. Emergency bans have been placed upon business-initiated travel to areas that have reported cases of the virus, as well as multiple implemented regulations upon produce purchase and health services. Public service buildings, workplaces, and universities have been closed in response to the spreading virus throughout the nation.

Here in New Jersey, various school districts throughout the county and state have already shut down or closed for multiple days in efforts to recoup and initiate plans as to how the spread of the virus may be prevented. The ideas of instituting online courses and even cutting into spring and summer breaks have been considered as ways to reach and maintain the necessary 180 days of school. In response to this newly declared state of emergency in New Jersey, Bergen County Technical Schools will close starting Wednesday, March 11th and throughout the following week. The schools plan on remaining closed until March 22nd in an effort to prevent further spreading of the COVID-19 disease throughout the county. Depending on the situation within the county, neighboring school districts may soon follow suit.

However, there are various precautionary measures we can take to prevent catching the virus and spreading it. Practicing good hygiene is an essential while simple asset to protect yourself from catching the virus. These practices include frequent and thorough hand-washing, using alcohol-based hand sanitizers and disinfectants, and regularly cleaning surfaces such as table tops, cell phones, and door knobs. Avoiding those who are ill, as well as keeping yourself from others when you are sick are also important steps one can take to avoid contracting the disease.