Paterson: St. Joseph’s doctor tested presumptive positive for coronavirus, sources say | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Paterson: St. Joseph’s doctor tested presumptive positive for coronavirus, sources say

By Jayed Rahman
Published: March 10, 2020


An emergency room doctor at the St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center is in isolation in the intensive care unit after testing presumptive positive for the coronavirus Covid-19, according to sources.

State officials revealed the case on Sunday, identifying the doctor as a 70-year-old healthcare worker from Teaneck. He was admitted to the hospital on Friday. As of Sunday afternoon, the man had not completed a full interview and it’s not known who he came in contact with after becoming symptomatic on Feb. 28.

Officials at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center would not say whether the healthcare worker is an employee of the hospital on Monday morning.

“We can confirm the New Jersey Department of Health’s report that we are treating a patient that is presumptive positive for the COVID-19 virus. Our team of expert health care providers is taking every precaution in treating this patient,” said Pamela Garretson, spokeswoman for St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. “We are working in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Health and the CDC to follow protocols that include isolation of the patient and use of appropriate personal protective equipment. St. Joseph’s continues to screen patients in accordance with CDC guidelines. We are routinely engaged in emergency management practices and prepared to manage patients with symptoms of any respiratory illness.”

Garretson did not answer questions such as whether the doctor reported to work after becoming symptomatic on Feb. 28.

The healthcare worker’s case is considered a Bergen County case. State health officials revealed the first Passaic County case on Monday. An 18-year-old Clifton resident tested presumptive positive for the Covid-19. The person began showing symptoms on Mar. 6. In a press briefing on Monday, New Jersey health commissioner Judith Persichilli said the person was likely exposed on Mar. 2 through close contacts with a known positive case in New York. The person is not hospitalized, she said.

New Jersey has completed 45 tests for Covid-19. 10 cases were deemed presumptive positive and 35 were negative. 14 tests are in process. 24 people are under investigation, according to New Jersey Department of Health data.

Health officials said presumptive positive tests are sent to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta for results confirmation. The state has yet to receive CDC confirmations for the first two cases sent to the federal agency, according to assistant New Jersey health commissioner Chris Neuwirth.

Neuwirth said he is not sure what’s causing the delay.

No deaths have been reported in New Jersey.

The state has two test kits for a total of 432 tests. A third test kit is being ordered by the state, Neuwirth said on Monday. Each test kit allows 216 individuals to be tested.

Governor Phil Murphy on Monday night declared a state of emergency to better deal with the spread of the coronavirus.

“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,” said Murphy in a news release. “My Administration will continue to work closely with our federal partners to ensure that local health agencies on the front lines of the state’s response are equipped with the resources needed to further prepare our health care system for a broader spread of COVID-19.”

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