RED BANK: FIRST COVID CASES DISCLOSED

Grandville Tower in Red Bank. (2013 photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Two residents of Red Bank’s Grandville Tower apartments are self-quarantined with the COVID-19 virus, the building’s owner informed tenants in a letter dated March 14.

They are the first reported patients of the global pandemic in the borough.

In addition, a third person the pair were in contact with “was subsequently confirmed to have contracted the virus,” PRC Management told tenants in a follow-up letter dated March 16.

Neither letter had been previously made public.

Separately, New Jersey health officials reported eight new positive COVID-19 cases in Monmouth County Tuesday, bringing the total to 22.

County officials appear to have stopped releasing hometown and other information about COVID-19 victims, and it was not immediately clear if the cases cited by PRC were included in the state’s latest figures.

PRC’s March 14 letter to tenants reported the firm had been “advised that two (2) residents of Grandville Tower are determined to be presumptively positive” for the COVID-19 virus “and are self-quarantined.”

In an effort to address inquiries from other residents, PRC’s March 16 letter says the company cannot divulge the identities of the affected residents.

“However, we can inform you that in the last two weeks the two residents were together and they had been in contact with another individual who was subsequently confirmed to have contracted the virus,” it said.

The letters address measures the company said it was taking to help check the spread of the virus, including shutting down the gym, conducting extra cleaning of common areas and asking tenants to “avoid inviting non-residents to the building” where possible.

Freeholder Director Tom Arnone, who has been announcing county news concerning the virus, is vice president of PRC Property Management, according to the company website.

Since March 12, the announcements, attributed to Arnone and Deputy Freeholder Director Susan M. Kiley, have stopped including the hometowns of COVID victims. In announcing that the county had 14 cases, a press release issued Monday said that “As more information becomes available, it will be shared with the public and the media.”

A request for comment sent to county spokeswoman Tricia Ring Wajda was not immediately answered. redbankgreen will update this post if one is received.

Red Bank’s official website reported Sunday that “As of March 15, 2020, the Borough of Red Bank is not aware of any presumptive or confirmed positive cases of the COVID-19 virus in Red Bank.”

UPDATE: Subsequent to the posting of this article, Red Bank’s website was updated with a statement that read, in part:

As of March 17, 2020, the Borough of Red Bank is not aware of any official presumptive or confirmed positive cases of the COVID-19 virus in Red Bank.  This information is based on official reporting by the New Jersey Department of Health and the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission.

We understand there may be rumors and unofficial reports circulating about self-identified cases but we want to assure residents that there is no need to panic.  In an effort to help the public understand the reporting process, the Borough is notified by the Health Officer of the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission when there is a presumptive positive case of the COVID-19 virus in our resident population.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a presumptive positive result is when a patient has tested positive by a local public health laboratory, but results are still pending confirmation at a CDC lab.  When a local hospital or lab determines there is an actual presumptive positive result, the New Jersey Department of Health and the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission Health Officer are notified.  Red Bank’s Health Officer has confirmed that no presumptive positive cases have been reported in Red Bank.

As the State & Monmouth County positive count increases daily, it is a likely scenario that one of us will know someone firsthand who has been infected with the COVID-19 virus.  There is no reason to panic but there is reason to be prepared and follow the steps to prepare and protect yourself and your family.  For more information, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Three New Jersey deaths have been tied to the virus, the latest a man in his 90s who was being treated at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, according to NJ.com.

Among the latest to come down with the coronavirus illness is a five-year-old in Paterson, both of whose parents also have the virus. He is the youngest person in the state so far identified to have COVID-19, according to NJ.com.

As previously reported, Little Silver has had three COVID-19 cases and one resident who appeared to be symptomatic as of Sunday.