A 69-year-old man from Bergen County became the first victim to lose his life because of the new coronavirus, state officials said Tuesday.

The man was among four new presumptive positive cases that arose since Monday, which brought the state's total of positive cases to 15.

The man fell ill about a week ago and was prescribed antibiotics and Tamiflu by his doctor. When his condition worsened, he was hospitalized March 6 at Hackensack Medical Center.

The man suffered a heart attack Monday night and was revived but suffered a fatal heart attack Tuesday morning, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said Tuesday.


Number of positive cases as of March 10, 2020:
BERGEN: 7 (including 1 death)

The man who died had a long list of underlying medical conditions including diabetes, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, gastrointestinal bleeding and emphysema. Many of the people who have died from the virus known as COVID-19 since it was first discovered in China have been older adults and those with other medical conditions.

In the United States, 28 people have died while than 4,000 deaths around the world have been tied to the virus.

He had no history of travel out of country but had traveled between New York and New Jersey, Persichilli said.

“We are sad to report the first death in a case of COVID-19 in New Jersey Our prayers are with the family during this difficult time," Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt Gov. Sheila Oliver said in a joint written statement. "We remain vigilant to doing all we can — across all levels of government — to protect the people of New Jersey.”

"We are going to get through this together in New Jersey," Oliver added during a news conference.

Persichilli said a lab sample from the patient who later died was sent for testing on March 7. All isolation precautions were taken by the hospital, she said.

The man who died was one of two new cases from Bergen County. The other two cases were in Burlington County. The number of cases had risen to 11 on Monday.

New Jersey on Monday declared a medical state of emergency to address the spread of COVID-19. For more on what that means, see our report from Monday explaining that development.

Persichilli said the state has not yet seen "community spread" of the virus, which would result in measures limiting public events. Persichilli said that she does not anticipate community spread as long as the virus can be contained through self-quarantine and social distancing.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, the state was waiting on results from 20 tests and had 31 people under investigation. Forty-four tests have tested negative so far.

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