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COVID-19 cancels Atlantic City parade, other events

The Atlantic City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the latest victim of the coronavirus.One of the parade’s organizers, John Exadaktilos, first made the announcement on Facebook Live.Gov. Phil Murphy later said that, based on guidance from the health commission, they are recommending that any public gatherings with more than 250 individuals be canceled.“The health and welfare of our residents, employees, and visitors are our main concern,” Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small said. “For this reason, we are taking precautions to prevent and limit the spread of this virus.”As a result, a decision was made that fans will not be allowed in to watch the MAAC basketball tournament being played at James Whelan Boardwalk Hall.

“These measures are being taken as part of our coordinated response to the continued outbreak and to aggressively mitigate the spread of the virus,” the governor said. “Additionally, for all events, we recommend that everyone practice common-sense hygiene, like washing hands routinely, staying home if you do not feel well, and keeping a six-foot distance from others.

“Our frontline efforts right now must be to aggressively mitigate the potential for exposure and further spread,” he added. We are taking this step because social distancing works. It is our best chance to ‘flatten the curve’ and mitigate the chance of rapid spread, so we can respond to this public health emergency in an even more focused manner.”Government leaders have been working to make sure people stay informed as worries over the coronavirus grow.Six new cases were announced at a 2 p.m. news conference.They include:

  • a 16-year-old female from Englewood, Bergen County;
  • a 66-year-old female from Montclair Township, Essex County;
  • a 51-year-old male, from Butler Borough, Morrison County;
  • a 23-year-old male Bridgewater Township, Somerset County;
  • a 53-year-old male from Manalapan, Monmouth County,
  • and a female of unknown age from Teaneck, Bergen CountyThe New Jersey Poison Information and Education System is running a 24-hour hotline, where trained healthcare professionals will answer questions.“Although the risk to the public remains low, we understand that residents have questions about this new virus,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “This hotline provides factual information to alleviate fear and dispel rumors.”The hotline is staffed continuously with healthcare professionals and run by the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, explained NJPIES medical director, Dr. Diane Calello.The calls are free and available in several languages.

New Jersey COVID-19 HotlineCall 800-222-1222.Outside the state, call 800-962-1253

The governor has also dedicated a website to information about COVID-19, the new slow-moving strain of coronavirus.That can be accessed HERE.New Jersey currently has 23 presumptive positive cases, Gov. Phil Murphy announced. Another 20 tests are in process. That includes eight new presumptive positive cases: two cases each in Middlesex and Monmouth counties, and four in Bergen County, where a 69-year-old man on Tuesday became the first in the state to die. It is noted that the man also had pre-existing conditions, including diabetes and emphysema, which makes the illness more dangerous.Murphy said 57 tests have come back negative.Meanwhile, local schools are preparing in case closings are made.“We are working closely with the Department of Education and Atlantic County Department of Education to prepare a plan for continuing student learning even if the school is part of a mandated closing,” Egg Harbor Township Superintendent Kim Gruccio wrote in an email to parents.Planned in-service training days for half of Thursday and all of Friday have now be adapted so the teachers instead will use this to prepare lessons in case of closings, she said.While the plan would use online access, those without an internet connection or printer will be able to make arrangements to get hard copies.Food plans would also be in place for those students who are eligible.Mainland Regional High School has banned anyone who was in any of the active transmission countries within the past 14 days, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy and South Korea.President Trump addressed the nation Wednesday night, announcing a 30-day travel suspension from Europe, except the United Kingdom, beginning midnight Friday.He said insurance companies also have agreed to waive co-payments of necessary testing and treatment.“We are cutting massive amounts of red tape to make anti-viral therapies available in record time,” Trump said.The NBA has suspended its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive.In Australia, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson tested positive while filming a movie in which Hanks plays longtime Elvis Presley manager Col. Tom Parker.

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