New Jersey Reports 1st Death From Coronavirus

New Jersey coronavirus lab
Photo credit Kena Betancur/Getty Images

TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) - Officials in New Jersey have confirmed the state's first coronavirus death.

The state's health commissioner, Judith Persichilli, said the 69-year-old man from Little Ferry had a history of diabetes, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, gastrointestinal bleeding and emphysema.

"He suffered a cardiac arrest, was successfully revived, but suffered another arrest this morning and expired," Persichilli said Tuesday.

The patient died at Hackensack University Hospital.

"We are sad to report the first death in a case of COVID-19 in New Jersey," Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver said in a joint statement. "Our prayers are with the family during this difficult time. We remain vigilant to doing all we can across all levels of government to protect the people of New Jersey."

Persichilli said the person did not travel anywhere internationally, but did commute back and forth to New York for work. He was a well-known horse trainer at Yonkers Raceway, which has been closed.

Health officials are now trying to figure out how he contracted the virus.

The number of positive coronavirus cases in New Jersey has increased to 15 and 31 others are under investigation.

Meanwhile, Murphy said the state will waive fees for COVID-19 testing for more than 2 million residents who have health insurance through their jobs with the state and public schools, as well as to those using the state's social safety net programs.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield has said it would waive costs for medically necessary coronavirus tests.

Rowan, Rutgers and Kean universities are among the colleges in the state where students will take classes online or take longer spring breaks.