N.J. has first coronavirus fatality

The first fatality from COVID-19 was reported Tuesday afternoon by state officials.

New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the victim was a 69-year-old male who died Tuesday morning at Hackensack University Medical Center.

The person, who was not named, was one of four new presumptive cases of the coronavirus the state announced Tuesday during a midday news conference that is still going on.

Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver issued a joint statement on the death: “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.”

Persichilli said the following about the fatality:

  • He had a history of diabetes, hypertension and emphysema, among other issues;
  • He had no history of travel outside of U.S., but did have history of travel to New York City;
  • He presented to his primary care physician a week ago;
  • He was admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center on March 6;
  • His condition deteriorated Monday night, when he went into cardiac arrest, but was revived;
  • He went into cardiac arrest again Tuesday morning; health officials were unable to revive him.

The fatality was one of two new cases based in Bergen County. The two other cases were in Burlington County. Persichilli said she did not have additional information on any of the other cases.