Governor Phil Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver today announced the first New Jersey death in a case of COVID-19. The individual is a male in his 60s from Bergen County.
“We are sad to report the first death in a case of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Our prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We remain vigilant to doing all we can — across all levels of government — to protect the people of New Jersey.”
Lieutenant Governor Oliver and Department of Health Commissioner Persichilli will disclose more details about the case during today’s coronavirus briefing for media.
John Brennan, a 69-year-old horse trainer and mainstay in the paddock of the Yonkers Raceway, had several underlying medical conditions, including emphysema, diabetes and hypertension, according to New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) issued a statement.
“My heart goes out to the family and loved ones of the New Jersey man who succumbed to the COVID-19 coronavirus,” said the state’s senior senator. “This hits particularly close to home for me and only serves to underscore the seriousness of this public health emergency. This terrible news only redoubles my resolve to ensure the federal government steps up its response and provides seamless coordination with our state and local health departments and providers on the frontlines. We must all continue to be vigilant.”
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) likewise reacted to the news.
“I was deeply saddened to learn that we lost a Bergen County resident from a case of COVID-19,” said the Bergen-based congressman. “Marla and I are thinking about his family and loved ones during this very difficult time. Our hospitals, health facilities, frontline medical professionals, communities, and state and federal government are all working to help make sure this outbreak is contained and to keep New Jersey residents safe.”
Earlier today, Murphy announced administrative actions from the Department of Banking and Insurance, Department of Human Services, Department of Health, and Department of the Treasury to support consumer access to COVID-19 testing and testing–related services. The Administration’s efforts waive consumer cost sharing for all medically necessary COVID-19 testing, as well as services related to testing. This waiver includes emergency room, urgent care, and office visits related to COVID-19 testing for the state’s individual, small and large group markets; the State Health Benefits and School Employee Health Benefits Plans; NJ FamilyCare’s CHIP population; and the state’s uninsured population, eligible for the Charity Care program.
With the understanding that many residents rely on employer sponsored coverage, the Governor also encouraged employers to consider measures to support consumer access to medically necessary COVID-19 screening, testing, and testing-related services, including waiving cost sharing where appropriate.
According to the New York Post, a New Jersey medical worker who was the Garden State’s first coronavirus patient says every day his health is “getting worse” — and warned others to take the bug more seriously, especially since he has none of the underlying conditions that officials have warned about.
James Cai, a 32-year-old physician’s assistant, said he thinks he caught the bug while attending a medical conference last weekend at a Times Square hotel, news station WCBS reported.