Second Township Man Tests Positive For Coronavirus

A 76-year-old township man is Franklin’s second confirmed case of the coronavirus, and its first to apparently be acquired through social contact, authorities said March 18.

The man reported to a local hospital’s emergency room on March 13 with a fever and other symptoms, according to a press release from the Franklin Township Police Department.

The man was tested for COVID-19, and sent home to quarantine and recover, the release said. The test results came back positive on March 18, according to the release.

The man is still quarantined and recuperating at home, according to the release.

The case appears to be “community acquired,” the release said, because the man had no contact with a coronavirus patient, nor did he have any recent travel history.

The Somerset County Department of Health is contacting anyone who had contact with the man “to provide guidance and limit the spread of infection,” according to the release.

Township Mayor Phil Kramer said the public knowing the man’s movements prior to his showing symptoms “isn’t particularly useful.”

“If I say he was at Kramer’s Hamburger Shop, you’re not going to know was he there before me, was he there after me, which seat he sat in,” said Kramer, who is a doctor. “And if you’re not there, you’re going to think, I’m ok. But you may have been next to someone who is otherwise infected. It’s not useful information unless you were with someone within six feet for a period of time.”

Kramer reminded residents of the basic suggestions: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, “and take it seriously.”

“I find young people who realize that if they get it, the odds of them dying from it are well under 1 percent, roughly the same as influenza,” he said. “But if they get it and they infect their parents or grandparents or friends’ parents, or they give it to their friend and that friend gives it to someone else and then someone older is affected, that is going to affect people.”

“You don’t have to be scared, but you need to take it seriously,” he said.

Kramer said that he is pushing Somerset County to adopt the measures recently undertaken by the township, including the closing of certain types of businesses.

“I am very, very sorry for the pain it’s causing,” Kramer said of the restrictions. “I am deeply and emotionally sorry about that. But this, as a doctor, is what I know is right.”

The township’s restrictions are based on those enacted earlier by East Brunswick, Kramer said. He said East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen, also a doctor, sent a letter – which Kramer endorsed – to Gov. Phil Murphy, asking him to enact those restrictions statewide.

The township’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced on March 15, and involved a man in his 70s who had recently returned from a trip to Italy.

The man is being treated in a local hospital, according to authorities.

According to the FTPD release, 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.

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