A woman who checked into East Orange General Hospital under a false name and address and tested positive for the coronavirus and disappeared is at large today, according to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.
“As of today she has not ben identified,” Baraka said in a Facebook message to residents of his city. “We still have no knowledge of who this person is.”
The woman presented herself at East Orange General Hospital on Saturday, March 14, for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-17) screening tested positive for the virus, said the mayor. When city health authorities responded to the address she provided to the hospital, they found no-one there who knew her or of her.
The mayor said his city is working the Essex County Prosecutor to retrieve all information about the unknown coronavirus positive patient from East Orange General Hospital, including a video of the woman.
Baraka appealed directly to the woman.
“If you are that person and you went to East Orange General Hospital, if you were sick, and the test came back positive, because you gave a false name and address… you are putting people at risk,” the mayor said. “I am urging you to contact a healthcare provider.
“We are searching for you,” Baraka added. “We are looking for you.”
A reporter on Tuesday asked Governor Phil Murphy about this case.
“If this is true, and there’s someone out there with a positive test, we need to get our arms around it,” Murphy said.
This past Sunday, the mayor told reporters at City Hall that his city has one confirmed Covid-19 case of an individual that he knows is in Newark, and a second confirmed case of an individual whose speciment was harvested in Newark who may be in the city.
“Two people tested,” said Baraka. “We don’t know if the second case is in fact in Newark. We are investigating to determine if that second person is in fact a Newark resident.”
East Orange Mayor Ted Green has put into place a state of emergency in his city, which neighbors Newark.
In alignment with Governor Phil Murphy, East Orange strongly encourages an 8pm-5am curfew on all non-essential travel and is restricting all non-essential businesses from being open during that time. Essential services such as supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies, medical offices, and gas stations, may stay open at their normal hours, while restaurants are now limited to take-out or delivery only.
These restrictions will remain in place until further notice.
“Life as we know it has changed, but we have to adapt and adjust as quickly as possible so we can collectively fight the spread of this deadly virus,” said Mayor Green. “I am urging everyone to remain calm, look out for your neighbor, help those in need and continue taking precautionary measures recommended by our health experts. This is a time to be very serious and vigilant about how we take care of ourselves and our community.”
Dr. Monique S. Griffith, Director of Health and Human Services, recommends frequent handwashing for 20 seconds and disinfecting common areas regularly. When soap and water is not available, an alcohol-based sanitizer should be used.