First ‘Presumptive Positive’ Coronavirus Case Identified In Township

A man in his 70s who recently returned from a trip to Italy is the township’s first presumptive positive case of coronavirus, officials said March 15.

The man, who is hospitalized, has several previous health conditions, according to a press release from the township Office of Emergency Management.

This would be the second case of coronavirus in Somerset County. The first, a 23-year-old Bridgewater man, was announced last week.

The Somerset County Department of Health is identifying anyone who had close contact with this patient, to provide guidance and limit the spread of infection, according to the release.

“We understand with this first reported case of COVID-19 in Franklin Township many citizens may be concerned about what actions are being taken to protect our community,” Mayor Philip Kramer said in the release. “The main focus of our efforts is to slow the spread of the virus. The County Health Department are experienced health professionals and are handling the medical aspects of the case and its effect on public health. This is a fluid situation. In order to serve you we will make changes as needed. Check the township website daily, where changes will be highlighted in yellow.” www.franklintwpnj.org.”

The release said that the actions, to date, that the Municipal Government in Franklin Township has taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are:

  • ALL public meetings except the March 24th Council Meeting are shut down. It remains for continuity of government but will be modified.
  • Municipal Offices will have limited staff. The township is considering services by appointment only. Use phone, e-mail and U.S. mail when possible. Expect delays for return calls.
  • The Senior Center is closed.
  • The Municipal Court is closed.
  • The Library is closed.
  • Convenience center (mini-dump) is closed.
  • Home inspections for tax assessments are on hold.
  • Routine construction inspections are on hold.
  • Non-emergent police reports will be taken over the phone.

For issues related to the Franklin Township School System residents are encouraged to visit the Board of Education website.

Franklin Township is NOT contemplating a curfew or general quarantine. “We are taking this seriously but please do not panic,” Kramer said in the release. “Be kind to one another and in particular, call our elderly friends and neighbors. Do not hoard. Practice social distancing, hand washing, staying home if you are sick and don’t touch your face. Help us slow the spread of the virus so the health care system can cope with the challenges
we are currently facing.”

COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. Symptoms of the coronavirus appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Only individuals who have specific exposures need to be tested.

Testing is not available for the worried well. County and local health departments are not equipped to test or refer residents to testing sites for the coronavirus. For those who have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread, or have had close contact with someone infected with this new coronavirus and have developed symptoms, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible, and
tell them about your symptoms and your exposure to a patient with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The best way to protect yourself and your family from this coronavirus and other diseases is to follow simple daily health precautions:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

The New Jersey Department of Health is providing information to residents and has set up a 24/7 public hotline with the New Jersey Coronavirus & Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

For an updated case count of COVID-19 in Somerset County, please call 908-231-7111

For Somerset County specific updates, please visit www.co.somerset.nj.us/health.

Since the situation is evolving, it is important to stay up to date by following trusted sources of information such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, the New Jersey Department of Health at www.nj.gov/health and the Somerset County Department of Health at www.co.somerset.nj.us/health.

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