COVID-19: Second, third Montclair residents test positive
BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Two more Montclair residents were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the township announced Friday afternoon.
The presumed positive cases are a 60-year-old man and a 77-year-old woman. Both are being treated at Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside hospital, according to the Montclair Health Department. They are the second and third Montclair residents to test positive for COVID-19, following the announcement Thursday that a 66-year-old Montclair State University professor had been hospitalized after testing positive.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that New Jersey now has 50 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, up 21 cases from the 29 total announced yesterday.
All three of the Essex County cases announced Friday afternoon are from Montclair. Bergen County has the most cases with 15, one of which resulted in New Jersey’s only death from the virus thus far. Monmouth has the second highest number at eight. COVID-19 has now spread to 13 counties of New Jersey’s 21.
Friday brought with it another spate of temporary closures of Montclair institutions, including the Montclair Public Library, and the YMCA of Montclair. See our hub page for the updated list of closures.
The YMCA’s closure followed its announcement that a member of the Park Street YMCA had been diagnosed with COVID-19. YMCA officials would not confirm whether the member was male or female, or if they were one of the two cases announced by the township.
In their release to members, the YMCA urged “those members who attend the Tuesday 9 a.m. and Thursday 10 a.m. Strength, Endurance and Balance classes ...to seek medical attention and testing.”
The Park Street YMCA branch closed immediately and indefinitely upon the announcement, while the Geyer Family branch on Glenridge Avenue will close at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
The Montclair Public Schools joined more than 300 school districts in the state in announcing a closure of all district buildings, and a move to online learning effective this Monday, March 16, and lasting at least two weeks.
District officials also told Montclair Local on Friday that a staff member who had undergone tests this week had tested negative for the virus.
Gov. Murphy said that the state Department of Education had been working with school districts to make sure students had access to free lunch programs even with school closed, and that every student would have access to technology in order to complete online learning. On Friday, 15 percent of districts here were looking for ways to still provide free meals to students, said Murphy.
Yesterday, Murphy recommended the canceling of all events with 250 people or more. Churches, synagogues and mosques announced closures.
The county government, meanwhile, announced the closure for the next two weeks of its vocational school district, in addition to facilities including Turtle Back Zoo, Codey Arena, county-owned golf courses, and senior buildings in county parks.
The Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival is also being postponed.
Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura has announced that foreclosures, evictions and sheriff’s sales will be suspended for the next two weeks.
The visitation schedule at the Essex County Correctional Facility has been modified.
While shelves of Montclair supermarkets were being depleted, to date the Division of Consumer Affairs received approximately 160 consumer complaints alleging price gouging or other unfair practices related to the public’s concern about COVID-19.
More than half of the complaints on file with the Division were reported after the State of Emergency was declared Tuesday. Investigators are inspecting stores and other businesses in response to consumer complaints.
The state of emergency places restrictions on price increases on all consumer products and services. So far, the Division has received the most complaints about price increases on surgical masks, cleaning products, such as hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays and wipes, as well as food and bottled water.