The Ocean County Health Department has reported the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Ocean County.

The individual, a man in his 70’s, is from Manchester and is currently recovering at Ocean Medical Center where he has been since March 9. His condition is listed as stable.

“The Ocean County Health Department has been preparing for this event since day one," Dan Regenye, Ocean County Public Health Coordinator said. "We are moving forward with the appropriate plans, and we are working directly with the New Jersey Department of Health and local medical providers to ensure this individual receives the proper treatment and that anyone who has come into contact with him is following the appropriate protocols, mitigating any further spread."

The Ocean County Health Department is waiting for confirmation from testing being done by the CDC.

Regenye said that in the meantime, the individual is being treated as if confirmed and is being isolated until cleared by public health officials.

The OCHD is working closely with the patient, their close contacts and health care providers to isolate and monitor persons who may have been exposed to the coronavirus and implement testing of anyone who may develop COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

“On account of the comprehensive preparations and diligent work the OCHD has organized since COVID-19 was identified in early January, we and our partnering agencies are well prepared to help prevent the spread of novel coronavirus,” Gerry Little, Ocean County Freeholder and Liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health, said. “We ask that everyone continue to follow all the appropriate protocols and guidance the health department and our health partners have been providing the community in an effort to minimize spread of infection.”

“We just want our residents to know that while this is a serious public health issue, the risk is still low at the moment,” Patricia High, OCHD Assistant Public Health Coordinator, said. “We want people to continue with their daily activities, but to be more vigilant regarding hand and respiratory hygiene, practice safe distancing and prevent travel to affected areas.”

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes.

These droplets may land on objects and surfaces.

Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Regenye said that if you experience symptoms such as a fever, dry cough or have difficulty breathing, start by remaining calm, then call your primary care physician, insurance company and even the Ocean County Health Department.

"If they do experience any of these symptoms the major thing is not to panic but to stay informed and contact their health care provider if they have any concerns," Regenye said. "If they're working with us, and we're either self-monitoring or we're working with them to be tested...if their symptoms get worse, we would ask them not to present themselves at the hospital or their physicians office. Work with us and we'll get you to the proper level of care with the proper notice to those establishments so you can get the proper level of treatment that's needed."

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