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Mercer County declares state of emergency to combat coronavirus

<p>A sign urging students to practice general wellness tips.</p>
<h6>Photo Credit: Caitlin Limestahl / The Daily Princetonian&nbsp;</h6>

A sign urging students to practice general wellness tips.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Limestahl / The Daily Princetonian 

 On Thursday, March 12, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes issued an executive order announcing a county-wide state of emergency to aid the fight against COVID-19.

The announcement follows New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s proclamation of a state of emergency Monday night.

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Executive Order 2020-01 declared that Mercer County agencies are “authorized to take appropriate action to assist municipal governments in containing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from this COVID-19 outbreak.”

Mercer County will be following infectious disease guidelines and protocol as given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The County Health Officer can alter sanitary and health codes to combat the disease. County employees are banned from out-of-state business-related travel.

All public gatherings of more than 250 people have been canceled. McCarter Theater has also suspended all performances, classes, and events through March 31 to abide by this guideline.

"We understand that our residents are concerned about this rapidly evolving situation, and we're determined to take whatever steps are necessary to minimize the risks for the people of Mercer County," Hughes said.

The executive order also allows Mercer County to seek reimbursement from the federal government for measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

While no Mercer County residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, one Burlington County resident who works in Robbinsville Township is the first presumed positive case to be associated with Mercer County. Five out-of-state attendees of a party in Princeton have also been diagnosed with the disease. Additionally, two University staff members who were at this party are still waiting for their test results.

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