First death by COVID-19 in New Jersey

Gov. Murphy announced that a male in his 60s died in Bergen County

The first death in a case of COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, has been announced in New Jersey.

Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver announced the first New Jersey death in a case of COVID-19 on March 10. According to a joint statement, the individual is a male in his 60s from Bergen County.

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“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,” Murphy stated. “We remain vigilant to doing all we can, across all levels of government, to protect the people of New Jersey.”

It was widely reported that the victim was identified as John Brennan, a 69-year-old renown horse trainer in the area.

As of March 13, there are 29 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey. This is the first confirmed death by COVID-19 in the state.

While Bergen County is the epicenter of the bulk of presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, other cases have begun popping up in. The first case of COVID-19 recently reached Hudson County.

Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez of West New York confirmed that a resident of the town tested positive for the virus on March 8.

As a result of the presumptive positive test, an investigation is being launched into the West New York man and anyone he may have come in contact with. Depending on his interactions, there may be more cases of COVID-19 discovered in the town in the future.

“Upon learning of the diagnosis, I directed our Health Department to immediately undertake a Public Health Action Plan, including a full investigation of the individual’s timeline to assess the risk to public health,” Rodriguez said.

No further information has been released to the public regarding the investigation into the West New York man and people he may have come in contact with.

On March 13, Hudson County reported a second presumptive positive case of COVID-19. According to Mayor Steve Fulop, a 41-year-old female who lives in downtown Jersey City felt symptoms and initiated testing with her private physician before being diagnosed with the virus.

For more information or for any questions, residents are encouraged to call the state’s COVID-19 Information Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or the West New York Health Department at 201-295-5070.

For updates on this and other stories, check and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at

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