By Jennifer Amato and Vashti Harris
Late in the afternoon of March 11, state officials confirmed two positive cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Middlesex County.
One of the cases is an East Brunswick resident who has been hospitalized for several days, according to information provided by the East Brunswick Police Department. The patient is a 58-year-old female, according to Janelle Fleming of the New Jersey Department of Health. Fleming could not release other details.
As a result, Superintendent Victor Valeski announced schools will be closed until March 15.
“I know this a late call but it is an important one. [On March 11], we have fielded countless calls and emails about our school closing … and I understand your concerns. We are aware of numerous social media posts that are inaccurate. As always, I wanted everyone to hear directly from me,” Valeski said in a prepared statement.
Valeski said his move to close schools was precautionary. As of March 11 at 9:45 p.m., no East Brunswick Public School staff member or student has been suspected or tested for coronavirus.
“We will continue to work closely with the New Jersey Department of Health, New Jersey Department of Education and East Brunswick Township to coordinate our actions and recovery from this extremely stressful situation,” Valeski said in the statement. “Please remain confident that the entire East Brunswick team has the safety and security of all students, staff and community members as their top priority.”
In addition, a 74-year-old male from Edison also tested positive, Fleming said. He and his wife recently returned from a cruise, according to information provided by the Edison Township Division of Health & Human Services. His wife is being tested and evaluated by health care professionals, according to the statement.
“At this time we are not aware of any community interaction by either individual,” the statement reads.
“Middlesex County was made aware that COVID-19 is now present in two of our communities. The county has been preparing for the eventuality of the disease being present in our municipalities for some time, working in conjunction with the CDC, New Jersey Department of Health, and local municipalities, and will continue that work. We hope no new cases emerge. We are continuing to urge our residents and our employees to practice good-hygiene to prevent or slow the spread of the disease,” said Kimberly Burnett, Middlesex County spokesman.
The public should exercise all safety guidelines as recommended by the New Jersey Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
Details will be updated as they are provided.
For more information, visit www.eastbrunswick.org/550/Coronavirus-COVID-19.