Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Here some of the latest developments:
*Drive-through coronavirus testing center opens in New Rochelle
*7 more NYC schools close due to coronavirus concerns
*Newark Archdiocese suspends weekend services, closes schools
*Trump administration moves to speed up testing
*Wall Street rebounds after historic losses
*The Masters and Boston Marathon postponed
MARCH 13, 2020
Jersey City announces 1st COVID-19 case
Jersey City officials have announced their first presumptive positive case of COVID-19, a 41-year-old woman who lives in downtown Jersey City.
The patient was reportedly proactive when she felt symptoms and initiated testing with her private physician. The results then get transmitted to the city's Health Department Communicable Disease Reporting Surveillance System.
NJ lawmakers plan COVID-19 bills
New Jersey lawmakers have set votes on legislation aimed at helping residents deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Democrat-led Assembly and Senate also said they're changing their schedules next week.
The Assembly canceled committee hearings except for one that will be considering the coronavirus legislation. The full Assembly is also planning to vote on the legislation once it emerges from committee. The Senate is holding hearings on Monday, but said the meetings would be closed to the public.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Republican Leader Jon Bramnick announced bipartisan legislation Thursday that includes measures to permit remote or virtual classroom learning to count toward the 180-day school year requirement. Other bills are aimed at ensuring that free and reduced lunches continue if schools are closed; requiring insurers to cover COVID-19 testing, setting aside funds for schools to reimburse for the cost of cleaning; and ensuring that no workers are fired as a result of being quarantined.
Ridership declines on NJ Transit
NJ Transit reports about 20% reduction in ridership this week on both bus and rail, according to a preliminary data review.
Customers who bought an NJ Transit monthly pass may be eligible for refunds
Archdiocese of Newark suspends services, closes schools
Archdiocese of Newark "suspended the public celebration of Mass for Saturday evening, March 14, and Sunday, March 15, 2020, after evaluating recommendations of state and health officials."
Archdiocese schools will be closed next week.
MARCH 12, 2020
Teaneck continues to monitor spread
Teaneck officials said they are continuing to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and announced the township has 8 positive cases.
The township has canceled all recreational activities at the Rodda Center, all scheduled court sessions in the Teaneck Municipal Court have been canceled, the Teaneck Library will be closed starting Friday and all non-essential meetings have been canceled.
Bergen County schools closing
Bergen County officials Thursday evening announced all 75 schools districts would move to at-home distance learning effective Friday at 3 p.m. until further notice. The schools have almost 170,000 school children and 16,000 teachers.
Hoboken public schools to close for 2 weeks
Due to the State of Emergency declared by the Hoboken Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the Hoboken Public School District and the Hoboken Charter Schools (Elysian, HoLa, and Hoboken Charter) will close starting Monday, March 16 for a period of two weeks.
Jersey City announces curfew for establishments with liquor licenses
Mayor Steven Fulop is implementing a precautionary 10 p.m. curfew effective immediately for all Jersey City establishments carrying a liquor license in an effort to reduce large uncontrolled crowd turnout as a preventative measure to reduce exposing the public to the pandemic COVID-19.
Further measures outlined in the Executive Order include a requirement for all establishments with allowable public capacity greater than 25 people - such as restaurants, places of worship, and special event venues - to maintain a record of all individuals entering the establishment through a sign-in sheet with information to be used solely for the purpose of preventing the spread of COVID-19 by providing means of notification of potential exposure, if necessary.
"There is so much uncertainty around testing, who carries the virus, and how quickly it spreads so we want to be overly cautious until we have some answers," Fulop said. "The logic here is simple, if the conversation federally and at the state level is around closing schools, or what we would classify as controlled environments, in order to limit the spread of the virus, wouldn't logic lead us to make sure we are also thinking about large uncontrolled environments until we have more answers? We want to take the necessary steps."
Newark cancels St. Patrick's Day Parade
Newark has canceled its annual St. Patrick's Day Parade amid concerns of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, one day after organizers expressed hope the event would go off as planned.
The ceremonial green line had already been drawn for the 85th annual event, with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy advising people to avoid packed in events before and after the parade.
But in the end, city officials made the decision to avoid the large gathering of people.
Jersey City provides update on prevention
Mayor Steven Fulop said that they had set up a hotline, 201-547-5208, for people to call who are experiencing symptoms to get information on how to get tested or for more information. He also urged people to call their own doctor as well.
Jersey City also canceled all city-run events throughout the week, or events they had given out permits for. Fulop says after a week, they will reassess the situation. He added that they do not want people to come to City Hall.
Red Bank Regional High School becomes the first public school in the tri-state area to switch to an off-campus learning plan amid the coronavirus scare. A student at the school is related to a 27-year-old man who is confirmed to have COVID-19.
MARCH 11, 2020
Newark St. Patrick's Day Parade still a go despite virus concerns
Many organizations have canceled large gatherings because of concern over the spread of the novel coronavirus, but in Newark, officials say their St. Patrick's Day Parade will go on as planned.
The city signed off on moving forward, encouraging people to come while paying attention though to all the hygiene advice health departments are recommending.
Dozens of organizations have signed up for the parade, and organizers say that so far, no one has canceled.
Ivy League cancels all spring sports
The Ivy League announced on Wednesday that it is canceling all spring athletics practice and competition through the remainder of the academic year amid further developments in the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus.
The decision hits the lacrosse programs particularly hard, with four schools ranked in the Top 20 and three in the Top 5 (No. 2 Cornell, No. 3 Princeton, No. 5 Yale, No. 16 Penn).
Possible community spread cases in New Jersey
In a news conference, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said four of the new cases are in Bergen County; two are in Middlesex County; two are in Monmouth County.
Three of the patients are female, while five are male. They range in age from 17 to 66 years old.
Judith Persichilli said officials are still investigating the contacts of those cases. However, she said two of the patients did not appear to have exposure to either a confirmed case, or travelled to an area that has community spread of the novel coronavirus.
Persichilli went on to define community spread as "person-to-person transmission without exposure to a confirmed case, or a nexus to an area where community spread is identified."
The health commissioner suggested that COVID-19 may be spreading among the community in New Jersey.
Fort Lee closes senior center as a precaution
The Richard and Catherine Nest Adult Activity Center (commonly known as the "Fort Lee Senior Citizen Center", located at 319 Main Street) will be temporarily closed for a period of 14 days, officials said.
This measure is strictly preemptive and is not in response to any presumptive or additional confirmed cases of individuals in the Borough of Fort Lee contracting COVID-19.
3 coronavirus cases in Teaneck, New Jersey
Officials in Teaneck, New Jersey say they have 3 presumptive positve cases. All three are men ages 70, 44 and 30. All of them are in the hospital.
MARCH 10, 2020
Rutgers University cancels classes
Rutgers University announced an early start to spring break for students. All classes are canceled starting March 12 through the end of spring break on March 22.
Starting Monday, March 23 through at least Friday, April 3, all course instruction will be delivered remotely and all face-to-face instruction is suspended.
First death in state reported
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.
Murphy waives fees for COVID-19 testing for some residents
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday the state will waive fees for COVID-19 testing for more than 2 million residents on certain health plans.
The waivers apply to residents with health insurance through their jobs with the state and public schools, as well as to those using the state's social safety net programs.
Murphy also urged the state's other health carriers covering people who get insurance their their jobs to follow suit. The state's biggest insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, has already said it would waive costs for medically necessary coronavirus tests.
Just over half of the state's residents have insurance through their employers, according to Jerrel Harvey, a spokesman for the governor.
Murphy's administration is set to give an update on the number of cases in the state later on Tuesday. Officials have reported there are 11 positive cases in New Jersey so far.
A state of emergency was declared in New Jersey on Monday to help contain the spread of coronavirus.
State of Emergency declared
Gov. Phil Murphy announced the public health emergency on Monday evening to help strengthen the state's preparedness.
Health officials in New Jersey had previously announced five more positive cases of coronavirus in the state on Monday, bringing the total to 11.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver stressed that the overall risk to the average New Jersey resident remains low.
She said New Jersey will continue to work with neighboring states and partner with the federal government throughout the response to the outbreak.
Oliver added that the best way residents can protect themselves from coronavirus is by practicing safe respiratory hygiene and to stay home.
MARCH 9, 2020
More NJ schools close
Trenton Public Schools is the latest school system to announce it will close this week.
School will be closed to students on Thursday and it will be closed to both students and staff on Friday.
State of Emergency declared in New Jersey
Governor Murphy's emergency declaration also empowers all state agencies, specifically the Departments of Banking and Insurance, Health, Human Services, and the Civil Service Commission to take all appropriate steps to address the public health hazard of COVID-19.