The first confirmed U.S. case of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, was announced in the state of Washington on Jan. 21, 2020. The virus has since spread to nearly every U.S. state, with the first N.J. case reported on March 4. There are now at least 3,675 positive cases in New Jersey as of March 24, including 44 deaths.
Here is a timeline of the coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey. This post will be updated frequently as new information is released.
Hackensack Meridian Health officials say they’re investigating a possible case of coronavirus in a patient at Hackensack University Medical Center. The patient, a woman in her mid-20s, is cleared by doctors later that evening.
U.S. senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez call on the federal government to begin screening travelers for coronavirus at Newark Liberty International Airport.
State health officials announce they are investigating another possible case of coronavirus in the state. The patient is cleared the next day after tests conducted by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention come back negative.
Newark Liberty International Airport is added to the list of U.S. ports of entries that are screening travelers for the coronavirus.
Gov. Phil Murphy launches a Coronavirus Task Force, chaired by state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, to coordinate state efforts to prepare for the public health hazard posed by the virus.
Princeton University orders more than 100 students, faculty and staff who had recently traveled to China to self-isolate for 14 days.
A woman who flew from Hubei, China, to Newark is the first person in New Jersey to be placed into a mandatory 14-day quarantine due to the threat of the coronavirus.
Twenty-seven passengers from Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas are screened for coronavirus after the cruise ship docks in Bayonne. Twenty-three are cleared and four are sent to hospitals for further evaluation.
The remaining four Royal Caribbean passengers test negative for coronavirus. Three had the flu and the fourth had no symptoms. The ship departs on Feb. 10 after a three-day delay in New Jersey.
Sen. Bob Menendez announces that five New Jersey residents stranded in China by the coronavirus outbreak have returned home on chartered flights. The residents entered mandatory quarantine upon returning to the U.S.
Seton Hall University is the first N.J. college to cancel all spring study abroad trips due to the international outbreak of coronavirus.
A patient at Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel is tested for a suspected case of the coronavirus. The patient tests negative for the illness later that day.
Staff at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories in West Trenton are approved to conduct tests for potential coronavirus cases in the state, instead of shipping test samples to the CDC lab in Atlanta.
Another N.J. resident tests negative for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of screened patients in New Jersey to nine, with no confirmed cases.
Kean University is the first N.J. college to suspend travel for sports teams in response to the coronavirus outbreak across the U.S. Later that day, Rutgers University cancels an upcoming women’s golf team trip to Mexico.
Rutgers cancels all study abroad semester programs and international spring break programs. Fairleigh Dickinson University suspends all international travel and Montclair State University cancels international travel to high-risk areas.
N.J. residents who visited Temple Young Israel in New Rochelle, New York, in late February are asked to self-quarantine due to possible exposure to the coronavirus.
The state’s second presumptive positive case of the coronavirus is announced. The patient, an Englewood resident, was treated at Englewood Health and released to self-quarantine.
New Jersey suspends all international business travel for state workers, and places restrictions on domestic travel for state employees.
Two more N.J. residents test positive for the coronavirus: a 61-year-old male Camden County resident, who is hospitalized at Jefferson Health in Cherry Hill, and a 55-year-old man who is hospitalized at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.
Two more positive cases of coronavirus are announced in N.J., bringing the statewide total to six.
The Frisch School, a private Jewish high school in Paramus, closes after dozens of its students were potentially exposed to the coronavirus at a bat mitzvah in New Rochelle, New York, in February.
Princeton University announces plans to start mandatory virtual instruction on March 23 and encourages students to stay home following spring break to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Rowan University announces it will extend its spring break an extra week to give faculty time to develop online learning plans.
State health officials announce the first coronavirus death in New Jersey. The victim is later identified as John Brennan, a 69-year-old horse trainer from Little Ferry. The total number of coronavirus cases in N.J. reaches 15.
Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco declares a state of emergency for the county. All Bergen County special services and technical schools and Bergen Community College are closed.
Rutgers University cancels classes for March 12-13 and says it will move all instruction online upon the conclusion of spring break on March 23.
The Ivy League cancels its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments due to the threat of coronavirus. The Princeton women’s team is awarded the conference championship for having the best regular-season record, while the men’s team places third.
New Jersey announces eight new cases of coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 23 positive tests with one death.
State officials announce they have identified two new positive cases of the coronavirus in New Jersey that could possibly be a result of “community spread," or person-to-person transmission without exposure to a confirmed case.
South Brunswick School District cancels classes after two township residents attended a private party in Princeton with two people from Boston who later tested positive for the coronavirus. The two South Brunswick residents and 14 Princeton residents who attended the party are told to self-quarantine.
Princeton University orders all students, except those who meet specific criteria, to leave campus and stay home for the rest of the semester in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tom Hanks reveals that he and his wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for coronavirus while working on a film in Australia.
N.J. announces six new cases of coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 29 positive tests with one death.
Gov. Phil Murphy recommends the cancellation of all public gatherings of more than 250 people in New Jersey, effective immediately.
Bergen County Executive James Tedesco announces the closure of all 75 county public school districts until further notice, effective 3 p.m. on March 13. The districts will move to an online learning curriculum.
The Big Ten men’s basketball tournament is canceled just minutes before the tipoff of Rutgers’ game against Michigan in Indianapolis. Seton Hall’s scheduled game against Marquette at Madison Square Garden is also called off when the Big East cancels its tournament.
New Jersey courts suspend all new jury trials indefinitely. Jury trials already underway will continue, and grand juries will still hear cases.
The Archdiocese of Newark cancels Sunday Masses and announces that the faithful are not obliged to go to church on Sundays until further notice.
The NCAA cancels all remaining winter and spring championships, including Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the Division 1 wrestling championships, the Frozen Four and the College World Series.
The NHL suspends all regular season games, following the NBA’s announcement to suspend its schedule the previous evening. The Prudential Center cancels all games and concerts through the end of March.
The NJSIAA cancels the remainder of its state high school basketball tournaments due to the impact of coronavirus across the state.
The total number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reaches 50, with one death.
PSE&G, JCP&L and Atlantic City Electric announce they will suspend electric and gas service shutoffs for non-payment during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bergen County officials announce the shutdown of the American Dream retail and entertainment complex, movie theaters and performing arts centers in the county.
Riverside Medical Group opens a drive-thru coronavirus testing clinic for its patients in Secaucus.
State officials announce 19 new coronavirus cases in N.J., bringing the statewide total to 69.
Later in the day, Gov. Phil Murphy announces the second coronavirus death in New Jersey — a Monmouth County woman in her 50s who was being treated at Centra State Medical Center in Freehold. The victim is later identified as Rita Fusco-Jackson of Freehold.
State officials announce the that first “widespread” coronavirus testing center in N.J. will open on March 16 at Bergen County Community College in Paramus.
Municipal court sessions in New Jersey are suspended for two weeks.
The Essex County Sheriff’s Office suspends evictions and foreclosure sales indefinitely. Vocational schools, Turtle Back Zoo, county golf courses and other facilities in the county will be closed until March 27.
Teaneck Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin urges residents to self-quarantine, calling the Bergen County town “ground zero” with 18 cases of coronavirus.
Hoboken officials order gyms, health clubs, daycares and movie theaters to close, a day after shutting down playgrounds, recreation centers and ballfields in the city.
N.J. officials announce 31 new coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to 98 with two deaths.
Gov. Phil Murphy says an “extended statewide shutdown is imminent” and he will likely announce a shutdown of all public and private schools the following day. Murphy also announces that state workers will be allowed to work from home.
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla announces a curfew will be imposed on residents between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and city restaurants must be take-out or delivery only.
Teaneck officials announce sweeping business closures - including bars, clubs, gyms, daycare centers and salons - in order to promote social distancing in the municipality.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission closes its offices for two weeks, planning to re-open on Mar. 30.
N.J. officials announce 80 new coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to at least 178. Later that evening, Gov. Phil Murphy announces a third N.J. resident has died from coronavirus: a 90-year-old Saddle Brook man who was being treated at Hackensack University Medical Center.
Gov. Murphy orders the closure of all New Jersey schools - public and private, including colleges - effective March 18. He also says he is “strongly discouraging non-essential travel,” asking New Jerseyans to not leave their homes between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The District of New Jersey suspends all federal jury civil and criminal trials scheduled before April 30.
Gov. Murphy announces he’s deploying New Jersey’s National Guard to assist in the state’s effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Rep. Andy Kim closes his congressional office in Washington indefinitely after a staffer in another office on the same floor tests positive for coronavirus. Reps. Tom Malinowski and Mikie Sherrill also announce their offices will temporarily close.
The coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey increases to at least 267 cases, with three deaths.
Gov. Phil Murphy orders the closure of all of the state’s indoor shopping malls until further notice, effective at 8 p.m. on March 17.
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla orders the closure of non-essential businesses in the city, such as barbershops and nail salons, effective March 18, at 9 a.m.
Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton suspends all evictions by his office, until further notice.
Rutgers University announces it will hold classes online for the rest of the semester, suspend its commencement ceremonies, and give students prorated refunds for room and board.
Later that evening, Grace Fusco, 73, becomes the sixth N.J. resident to die due to COVID-19. Fusco was the mother of Rita Fusco-Jackson, who died on Mar. 13, and Carmine Fusco, who died in Pennsylvania the morning of Mar. 18.
Gov. Phil Murphy announces that the state Department of Human Services will continue to provide services for homebound senior citizens, people with disabilities and families who rely on public assistance during the coronavirus outbreak.
All five Roman Catholic dioceses in N.J. suspend Masses and other services — including confirmations, communions and weddings — indefinitely.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka calls for a mandatory curfew and the closure of all non-essential businesses in the city — with exceptions for restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations — from 8 p.m. March 18 to at least April 1.
The Coronavirus outbreak in N.J. surges to at least 742 cases, with nine deaths. The three new deaths include an Ocean County man in his 70s, an Essex County man in his 60s, and a Bergen County man in his 30s.
Later that day, Manalapan resident Vincent Fusco, 53, becomes the fourth member of the Fusco family to die after being infected with the coronavirus.
Gov. Phil Murphy signs an executive order to immediately suspend evictions and foreclosures in New Jersey during the coronavirus outbreak.
Gov. Murphy also orders the closure of all barber shops, salons, nail salons and tattoo parlors statewide, effective March 19 at 8 p.m.
New Jersey reschedules local elections set to be held in March and April to May 12, with voters only being allowed to vote by mail. The state primary elections remain scheduled for June 2.
The state Legislature approves an emergency package of bills in response to the coronavirus crisis, including grants to assist schools, small businesses and food banks.
Camden County prohibits self-serve beverage and food at all convenience and grocery stores, directing employees at those businesses to dispense the items instead.
New Jersey coronavirus cases increase to at least 890, with 11 deaths. The two new fatalities are a 37-year-old man from Essex County and a 52-year-old man from Bergen County.
Gov. Phil Murphy vows to implement more restrictions on New Jersey residents within the next 24 hours, including shutting down nonessential businesses.
At 8 a.m., the state’s first major coronavirus testing site opens at Bergen Community College in Paramus. It hits capacity by noon and turns away the remaining cars lined up for testing.
Gov. Murphy announces that a second coronavirus mass testing center is set to open at 8 a.m. on March 23 at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.
Gov. Murphy orders hospitals and health clinics in N.J. to waive fees for coronavirus testing for uninsured residents.
N.J. health officials order adult day care services to be shut down statewide to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey increases to at least 1,327 cases, with 16 deaths.
Gov. Phil Murphy orders non-essential retail businesses in the state to close until further notice, as of 9 p.m. on March 21.
New Jersey orders the mandatory closure of all libraries in the state until further notice — including those that at all colleges and universities.
St. Joseph’s Senior Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility in Woodbridge reports eight cases of coronavirus, all elderly residents of the facility.
James Cai, the state’s first confirmed coronavirus patient, is released from Hackensack University Medical Center. He had been hospitalized since March 3.
The New Jersey coronavirus outbreak rises to at least 1,914 cases, with 20 deaths.
Citing the “profound risk posed to people in correctional facilities arising from the spread of COVID-19,” the state Supreme Court issues an emergency order directing the release of some lower-level, non-violent offenders in county jails.
The George Washington Bridge and Lincoln and Holland Tunnels stop accepting cash toll payments, as of 9 p.m. on March 22. Drivers who do not use E-ZPass will be mailed a bill after their license plates are photographed.
New Jersey’s total number of coronavirus cases climbs to at least 2,844, with 27 deaths.
A second state-run drive-thru coronavirus testing site opens at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, to massive lines. Union County also opens the first county-run drive-thru testing site at Kean University.
President Donald Trump agrees to provide assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create four pop-up hospitals to help handle the surge of coronavirus patients in New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy suspends all elective surgeries and dental procedures in New Jersey as of 5 p.m. on March 27, so resources can be directed to fighting the spread of coronavirus.
The International Olympic Committee announces the postponement of the 2020 Summer Games, which were scheduled to begin July 24 in Tokyo, Japan. The games will likely be moved to 2021.
The total number of N.J. coronavirus deaths increases to 44, with at least 3,675 total cases statewide.
New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy launches the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund to raise money and awareness about the coronavirus outbreak in the state.
Hudson County opens a drive-thru coronavirus testing center at Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus for county residents.
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