WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- New Jersey officials called for the help of the community after a woman who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) went missing after giving false personal information.
- Newark Mayor Ras Baraka appealed to the patient to return as she poses “a public health risk to herself and to the entire community.”
- The unidentified patient has since been located by officials.
New Jersey officials called for the help of the community after a woman who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) went missing after giving false personal information.
The unidentified patient was tested at East Orange General Hospital, where she provided a false name and address before leaving on Saturday.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka held a press conference on Facebook on Tuesday to appeal to the patient to come forward, saying, “You put yourself and many, many people at risk, not only in the city of Newark but all of the surrounding cities in the state, as well.”
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update – March 17, 2020, 12:15pmPosted by Mayor Ras J. Baraka on Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Baraka continued, “I’m urging you to immediately contact your health provider, go back to the East Orange General Hospital if you can. We are searching for you and we are looking for you.”
The mayor informed everyone that the Newark Police Department was hoping to correctly identify the woman through the hospital’s security footage and were currently searching for her.
Fortunately, the woman was found a few hours later.
He wrote on Twitter: “UPDATE: We have located the woman that was reported to have tested positive for Coronavirus. Thank you everyone for your vigilance.”
Her identity has not been released. Her motive for lying and leaving the hospital is also yet to be identified.
The mayor also used his press conference to remind everyone of the importance of following the guidelines suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): continue the practice of social distancing, stay inside their homes, and follow hygiene procedures, including washing hands regularly.
Baraka added, “I want to reiterate to folks at the hospital, you have to give your real name, you have to give a right phone number, you have to give an emergency contact This is not a joke. This is a very, very, very serious matter for many, many people involved.”
The virus has infected at least 5,303 and killed 96 in the U.S. as of Tuesday afternoon. Among these, 268 cases and 3 deaths were reported in New Jersey.