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2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Release Date: March 12, 2020

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 Hotline call (862) 419-4300 - State of Local Emergency Update & Links for information

Updated: March 23, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China that first emerged in December 2019. This outbreak began in Wuhan, China, but cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations including the United States. While the CDC considers this to be a serious public health concern, the immediate health risk from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to the general public in the U.S. is still considered low at this time. The NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) is working with State and Federal partner agencies to monitor the situation closely. They are also preparing guidance documents for public health and health care professionals to be able to effectively respond to any cases that may be identified in the state.


  • On March 9, 2020, Governor Murphy declared a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 11, 2020 COVID-19    declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) recommends no gathering of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks (March 15-May 3, 2020).
  • Governor Murphy has announced that New Jersey is strongly discouraging residents from making non-essential travel between 8pm-5am.
  • On March 21, 2020, Governor Murphy announced a statewide stay at home order, closure of all non-essential retail businesses. The order also prohibits social gatherings, mandates work from home arrangements for employees when possible, and invalidates conflicting local and county regulations.
  • A new COVID-19 website is available: The website has information that residents, healthcare providers, businesses and organizations, schools, and others will find helpful. The website also has LIVE updates and announcements, as well as case counts by county.

Situation update regarding positive cases identified in New Jersey

For the most up to date status regarding COVID-19 testing reported to NJDOH, please visit the following link:

What is Closed in New Jersey?

In an effort to promote social distancing to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the following are closed:

  • K-12 public, private and parochial schools
  • Universities
  • Casinos
  • Nightclubs
  • Performing Arts Centers and other concert venues
  • Racetracks
  • Movie theaters
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Indoor malls
  • Indoor amusement centers and amusement parks
  • All personal-care businesses which cannot comply with social distancing guidelines, including barber shops and hair salons, spas, nail and eyelash salons, tattoo parlors, and social clubs
  • All non-essential retail businesses

Governor Murphy’s Executive Order further directs the closure of all non-essential retail businesses to the public, with the exceptions of:

  • Grocery stores, farmer's markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store
  • Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries 
  • Medical supply stores
  • Gas stations
  • Convenience stores 
  • Ancillary stores within healthcare facilities
  • Hardware and home improvement stores
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Laundromats and dry-cleaning services 
  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years 
  • Pet stores
  • Liquor stores 
  • Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics
  • Printing and office supply shops
  • Mail and delivery stores.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptoms

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • cough
  • trouble breathing and
  • pneumonia

The CDC believes at this time that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

How Does Novel Coronavirus Spread?

Exposure to COVID-19 can occur in the following ways:

  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person.
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It is possible that you can also become infected by touching something which has been contaminated by the virus and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

People are thought to be most contagious when they are the most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How is the novel coronavirus diagnosed?

Symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to other common illnesses such as the flu or the common cold. Healthcare providers can tell whether you have symptoms that could be COVID-19, but can’t make the diagnosis by physical exam. They may also ask about recent travel in the 14 days prior to becoming ill, or other potential contacts to those infected with COVID-19. If COVID-19 is suspected, the healthcare provider can take a swab to send off for testing. 

Public Health Recommendations:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene! Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands.
  • Practice good hand hygiene! Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid sick people.
  • Review and follow CDC travel advisories when planning travel. If you become ill after returning travel, call your healthcare provider before going to a doctor’s office or emergency department of a hospital. They may want to place a mask on you before you enter the building to protect other people.  


Due to the rapidly changing situation, travel recommendations and countries with various levels of travel alerts are subject to frequent updates. Stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak at the following link: CDC Travel Health Advisories.

If you traveled to a affected area in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use and alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. 
  • If you are a student/coworker/employee/health care worker who recently traveled to an affected area, you should:
  • Remain at home or in a comparable setting. We also recommend that they
  • Avoid congregate settings, limit public activities, and practice social distancing. 

Important: These recommendations should be followed for a total of 14 days from the time you left that affected area. 

The NJDOH Novel Coronavirus Call Center is open and is taking calls from the general public only. It is open 24/7 and can accommodate callers in multiple languages. They can be reached at 1-800-222-1222 or 1-800- 962-1253 if in NJ but using a non-NJ cell phone. This call center is not for clinicians and they should call the Township of Mount Olive Health Department for guidance.

Feeling stressed about the novel coronavirus and would like to talk with a mental health professional?

The NJ Department of Human Services operates a toll free “warm line” which is a resource for people seeking mental health service. The warm line is activated during events that impact the mental health of New Jersey residents. The warm line is available 24 hours and has language access; (877) 294-HELP (4357). NOTE: The “warm line” does not replace 911 and is not used to report emergencies

For more information:

Resources for the Public:

Questions and Answers: