TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – The first New Jersey death in a case of the coronavirus was announced Tuesday.
Judith Persichilli, commissioner of the state health department, said the person who died was a 69-year-old Bergen County man with underlying medical conditions. He had a history of health issues, including diabetes, she said.
He had no travel outside of the United States but had traveled to New York, where there are more than 150 cases. It is not yet known where exactly he traveled in New York.
The number of cases in New Jersey increased to 15, up four from Monday’s briefing on COVID-19. Two of the new cases, including the man who died, are in Bergen County and two in Burlington County.
Meanwhile, Murphy said Tuesday the state will waive fees for COVID-19 testing for more than 2 million residents on certain health plans.
The waivers apply to residents with health insurance through their jobs with the state and public schools, as well as to those using the state’s social safety net programs.
Murphy also urged the state’s other health carriers covering people who get insurance through their jobs to follow suit. The state’s biggest insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, has already said it would waive costs for medically necessary coronavirus tests.
Just over half of the state’s residents have insurance through their employers, according to Jerrel Harvey, a spokesman for the governor.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education.