Coronavirus

State officials on Friday identified a third presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in New Jersey.

The patient, a man in his 60s, is hospitalized in Camden County, Governor's Office said in a news release. The individual is in stable condition and has been hospitalized since Tuesday.

The presumptive positive result came from a sample tested by the New Jersey Department of Health at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories and is now being submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing. State and local public health authorities are proceeding with the public health investigation and response activities as if this was a confirmed case and following all infectious disease protocols.

To date, 11 people are under investigation in New Jersey as possible coronavirus patients, the state said.

New Jersey schools were asked Thursday night to plan for closings due to COVID-19 and were given guidelines for home instruction requirements.

In a memo sent to school administrators, state Department on Education officials said that administrators should plan and prepare, citing prior state Department of Health guidance that “schools may be asked to close preemptively or reactively, therefore schools should be making plans for what to do if there are recommendations for closing schools or cancelling events.”

Atlantic County Executive Superintendent Robert Bumpus differed comment to the state DOE spokesman, who did not immediately return a request for comment.

Schools would be closed through a written directive by the state DOH or the health officer of the jurisdiction, according to the memo.

In the case of a health-related school closure, school boards may use home instruction for students, according to the memo. Any day that students have home instruction due to a public-health related closure will count toward the 180-day school year required by statute.

Officials asked school administrators to develop a preparedness plan to provide home instruction in the event of a closure, with “equitable access to instruction for all students,” according to the memo, which should be submitted to the Executive County Superintendent.

In a Friday morning news release from the DOE, officials said that are no immediate plans to implement a closing, but "health officials may also call for a tiered system of social distancing in schools, possibly limiting certain functions such as sports events and assemblies in order to limit the risk of exposure."

“We must also do our part to combat infectious disease-related stigmas toward specific populations or nationalities,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “Bullying and harassment hurt everyone and we should all recommit to combating the spread of fear and misinformation about COVID-19.”

On Wednesday, officials at Mainland Regional High School barred anyone who has traveled to countries affected by the disease, or are experience symptoms from their campus and events for two weeks.

“We were getting concerns expressed from the community and we wanted to be responsive with our messaging to assuage fears and concerns,” Chief School Administrator Mark C. Marrone said. “And we wanted our community to know we are actively monitoring the situation and looking to support, protect the safety and welfare of our students.”

A private school in Bergen County closed Friday due to concerns over COVID-19, officials said.

In a tweet Friday morning, Gov. Phil Murphy said that the school, which he did not identify, "has closed out of an abundance of caution," adding that the risk to public health remains low.

And, five schools in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, were closed Friday over fears of the diease.

Central Bucks School District officials were told Thursday night that individuals within the district were exposed to a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, according to a post on the district’s Facebook page.

“After consulting with local and state health authorities, and out of an abundance of caution, CBSD has decided to close 5 schools today,” according to the post. “Butler, CB South, Titus, Tohickon and Tamanend will be closed today for students, teachers and staff.”

There have been two presumed positive cases of the disease in Pennsylvania, one each in Wayne and Delaware counties, 6abc reported. They have yet to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC website still shows zero cases in Pennsylvania.

Contact: 609-272-7241

mbilinski@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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