Princeton: First Presumptive Positive Case of COVID-19 In Mercer County

March 13, 2020

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) announces the municipality’s first positive case of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). The resident is a 49-year-old female who attended the private party with two individuals from the Boston area who subsequently tested positive for coronavirus.

The resident began experiencing mild illness on March 3, 2020. She reported attending two events after her symptoms began. The first event took place in Staten Island on March 7 at a dance festival.  The second event was a meeting at the Princeton Medical Center on March 9.  She has been isolating at home starting the evening of March 9.  We have contacted the event coordinators for both locations to further identify any possible exposure.  The Health Department was notified of presumptive positive results for this individual from the New Jersey Department of Health’s Public Environmental Health Laboratory today, March 13, 2020, and is awaiting confirmatory results from the CDC.

Princeton Health Department was notified of the February 29 party and potential exposure to coronavirus the evening of March 9.  Since that notification, all individuals attending that party have been instructed to stay home as if they tested positive.  With a presumed positive result, the health department is now empowered to impose stricter limits to the close contacts of this individual.  

As more cases are observed throughout New Jersey, we are urging people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women and the elderly to practice social distancing by avoiding non-essential travel, public events, community gatherings, and indoor venues.  Everyone and every organization has to do their part to help slow the spread of this virus.

Individuals can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as COVID-2019 and other diseases by practicing basic infection control on a daily basis.

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and those directly caring for people who are sick and by people who are sick (source control).
  • Get a flu immunization if you have not done so this season.

Testing for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

Testing is available through your healthcare provider. Please contact them to discuss if you should be tested. Your healthcare provider will review your specific symptoms and make the clinical decisions as to whether to order the test. Princeton Health Department does not do the testing and does not provide primary care which is an important part of your need to be evaluated, treated and tested.

If you have questions, please call the clinic or your doctor before going in. If you are symptomatic, stay home and separate yourself from others, avoid public areas and avoid public transportation.

You should also call a doctor if you have had close contact with a person who has COVID-19. Visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for an up to date list of countries most affected by COVID-19

The State of New Jersey has set the protocol for who qualifies for testing.

For more information on coronavirus (SARS-2) and COVID-19:

CDC – General Information on Coronavirus:

CDC: Frequently Asked Questions:

NJ Department of Health, COVID-19:

For questions about coronavirus, the New Jersey Department of Health has a COVID-19 Hotline, 24/7, at 1-800-222-1222.  The Princeton Health Department can be reached at (609)497-7608 for additional information.

Mercer County, NJ Update on COVID-19

Mercer County’s first presumptive positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was announced today by state officials and the Princeton Health Department, which is conducting the investigation. State officials report that there are now 50 presumptive positive cases statewide.

As reported by the Princeton Health Department, the individual is a 49-year-old woman who attended a private party in Princeton on Feb. 29 with two individuals from the Boston area who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

“This news was not surprising,” Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes said. “Most counties in New Jersey are now seeing presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, and we need to be prepared for more such cases in Mercer County. But there are steps we all can take to lower the risk of infection.”

Gov. Phil Murphy emphasized during a press conference today that social distancing, which includes maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others when possible and avoiding crowded public places, can help stop the spread of COVID-19. On Thursday, Mr. Hughes joined Gov. Murphy in recommending the cancellation of all scheduled public gatherings of more than 250 people, including concerts, parades and events. And Mr. Hughes continues to urge everyone to take everyday preventive actions, such as frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you’re sick, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.