New Jersey has seen its third death connected to the novel coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy said late Monday.

"Sad to announce our third death of an individual with #COVID19 – a male in his 90s who was being treated at @HackensackUMC in Bergen County," the governor wrote in a tweet. "Our prayers are with his family during this difficult time."

The news came the same day state officials nearly doubled their official tally of coronavirus cases to 178 — including 32 in Bergen County, taking the county's total up to 61. State numbers have sometimes lagged behind local reports.

Murphy had said earlier the 80 newly confirmed cases in New Jersey were among people who ranged from 5 to 93 years old.

The state's first coronavirus-related death was of a 69-year-old man from Bergen County. The man suffered a heart last week and was revived, but suffered a fatal heart attack the next morning, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. Although he had underlying conditions, his death was attributed to the virus. He's since been identified as John Brennan, 69, of Little Ferry.

Murphy has said the second victim, who died on March 14, was a woman in her 50s who had been admitted to CentraState Medical Center in Freehold Township. Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine of Freehold Township in a Facebook post identified the victim as Rita Fusco Jackson. The same post said Fusco Jackson was a teacher in the church's confirmation program and that she had attended a program retreat on Feb. 29, but had "minimal" exposure to other participants.

Persichilli said during a media briefing this weekend. the woman's brother had been friends with Brennan.

 

— Includes previous reporting by Sergio Bichao and Dan Alexander

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