NJ declares state of emergency due to coronavirus, Rutgers, other schools prepare for outbreak
The number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in New Jersey as of Monday evening has risen to 11, according to an article from NJ Advance Media. New Jersey declared a state of emergency and state institutions, including Rutgers, are taking precautions to prevent the outbreak from growing.
“The State of New Jersey is committed to deploying every available resource, across all levels of government, to help respond to the spread of COVID-19 and keep our residents informed,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said in a statement, according to the article.
The latest victims include an 18-year-old from Clifton who interacted with an infected person in New York and a 27-year-old from Little Silver who attended the Biogen conference in Boston, where 170 other attendees tested positive, according to NJ Advance Media. These individuals are not currently hospitalized.
Another new case includes a 48-year-old from Berkeley Heights who interacted with travelers from Milan, Italy and is currently hospitalized, according to the article.
Two other individuals, including an 83-year-old from Hazlet and a 30-year-old from Teaneck are being hospitalized, but it is unknown how they contracted the illness, according to the article.
Amid the spread of COVID-19, University President Robert L. Barchi sent an email to faculty on Monday asking them to submit plans for potential remote instruction.
“I understand that transitioning your classes to remote instruction will be a challenge for faculty and students alike,” Barchi said in the email. “While we have not yet made a decision to suspend face-to-face instruction, it is imperative that you take steps now to prepare for this possibility.”
Rutgers University—New Brunswick Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Research and Academic Affairs Prabhas V. Moghe also sent an email to faculty on Monday to provide information on digital resources in the event that University operations are impacted by the outbreak.
“We are committed to providing our students with continued instruction so that they do not lose progress toward the timely completion of their degrees,” Moghe said, according to the email. “We do not anticipate lengthening the spring semester nor halting the progress of our students.”
With spring break next week, Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy sent a University-wide email on Monday advising students on travel.
“We urge students who have personal or professional plans to travel either internationally or to affected areas in the United States to reconsider their travel,” Molloy said, according to the email.
The University will follow the travel guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Molloy said students who travel to regions with a Level 3 Travel Warning from the CDC will be required to self-quarantine for two weeks upon returning to Rutgers, according to the email.
Other New Jersey schools are implementing measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Princeton University announced it will work on “social distancing” and move all classes online beginning March 23, the day students were supposed to return from their spring break.
“We encourage students to consider staying home after spring break. If students choose to remain home after spring break, we will make sure that they are able to meet their academic requirements remotely,” said Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber in a letter to students.
The online classes are scheduled to be in place until April 5, Eisgruber said in the letter.
Rowan University’s spring break also begins next week and was extended an extra week so professors can prepare for potential online classes, according to NJ Advance Media.
State officials are urging residents to have two weeks worth of food, water and medicine in case they must self-quarantine, according to an article from NJ Advance Media.
New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said individuals should keep personal prescriptions as well as over-the-counter things such as fever-reducing drugs, according to the article.
“If someone is placed in quarantine for 14 days, we’re urging people in quarantine not to go out in the community,” Persichilli said, according to the article.
Tina Tan, New Jersey’s state epidemiologist, said the state is investigating each case to find links to other confirmed cases which could help limit the rise of cases, according to the article.
“At this time, there does not appear to be sustained community transition," Tan said, according to the article.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver (D-N.J.) said residents should practice good hygiene and stay home if they feel sick, according to the article.
“If all remain calm and informed and educated with each passing day, and just practice common sense, the risk of an individual contracting coronavirus remains low,” Oliver said, according to the article.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated the 48-year-old from Berkeley Heights was not hospitalized.
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