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Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of State

On Tuesday, March 10, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver released a joint statement, announcing a man in his 60s from Bergen County as New Jersey’s first COVID-19 fatality. That man has since been identified as John Brennan, a 69-year-old from Little Ferry who worked as a horse trainer in Yonkers, NY.

Brennan had been hospitalized since March 6. After his death, Bergen County declared a state of emergency. Brennan's death comes as the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Jersey reaches 15. 

Although Brennan had no recent history of international travel, he frequently transited between New Jersey and New York. Brennan worked for the Standardbred Owners Association as a horse trainer and manager in the Yonkers Raceway’s racing office.

Since his death, the Yonkers Raceway has announced the closure of its race track. According to the Raceway, all employees have been asked to self-quarantine. 

Bergen County Executive James Tedesco declared that Bergen County would enter a state of emergency until further notice; in his announcement, he urged senior citizens, particularly those with preexisting conditions, to “avoid large crowds and large gatherings while COVID-19 remains a threat.” Seven of the 15 presumptive positives in N.J. are in Bergen County. 

On Tuesday, New Jersey officials announced three new presumptive positives for COVID-19 — a couple from Burlington County and a man from Bergen County

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