Two additional cases of COVID-19 infection identified in Bloomfield

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Bloomfield has two additional cases of the coronavirus infection, according to Karen Lore, the director of the Department of Health. Lore spoke during a Tuesday, March 17, emergency teleconference meeting of the Township Council. 

She said the cases were confirmed Monday evening, while a third individual tested negative. Testing positive was a 52-year-old woman and a 61-year-old man, who is a Comcast employee. His area of service is the township and he has been hospitalized. The woman, whose symptoms were mild, has self-quarantine. Previously, a married couple in their 70s had tested positive. 

Lore said Comcast was notifying customers with whom the man may have come into contact while on the job from March 3 to 6. Councilman Nick Joanow asked how long it would take before the township knew the identity of these people.

“It all depends on his services and how symptomatic he was,” Lore said.

Councilwoman Wartyna Davis expressed concern that the township had to wait while Comcast already had the list of possible contacts. Mayor Michael Venezia asked if Comcast should provide the list to the township now and not wait until the company determined the extent of customer exposure. Administrator Matthew Watkins said the township would contact the company.

“We need that information ASAP,” Davis said. “A corporation shouldn’t be the first contact. We should be out in front of this.”

Watkins said a list of Comcast customers in Bloomfield would be readied.

“I don’t think these will be the last cases,” he added. “I think we’ll be overwhelmed.”

Venezia asked how the couple in their 70s were doing. Lore said the wife was “not in as bad shape” as her husband, who remains hospitalized.

Watkins also announced that nonessential township employees will work from home; only the Fire, Police and Public Works departments will report to work, where they will work in smaller units. The Office of Emergency Management has also been opened, he said. Ordinarily working out of the Mayor’s Conference Room, at police headquarters, the OEM will work virtually.