‘Every day is getting worse’: New Jersey physician’s assistant who tested positive for coronavirus and attended a medical conference in Times Square before he fell ill warns people to take the threat seriously

Monday, March 9, 2020
By Paul Martin

James Cai fell ill last week while attending medical conference in New York City
He’s been hospitalized since Tuesday at Hackensack University Medical Center
Cai spoke out about the virus Monday and said it’s not one to be taken lightly
The 32-year-old was the first confirmed case in New Jersey which has two cases
There are total of 106 cases in New York which declared a state of emergency
In the United States, there are a total of 616 confirmed cases and 22 deaths
Virus spread to 109 countries, infected 111,356 people and killed 3,892 others

9 March 2020

A physician’s assistant who became New Jersey’s first case of coronavirus has spoken out about the disease from his hospital bed and warns others to take the threat seriously.

James Cai, 32, fell ill last weekend while attending a medical conference at a hotel in Times Square.

He has been hospitalized since Tuesday at the Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, New Jersey. So far, 13 people have been tested for COVID-19 in New Jersey. The other 11 cases have come back negative.

‘Every day is getting worse,’ Cai said Monday during an interview with CBS. ‘A lot of people say it’s OK, don’t wear masks. I don’t believe that,’ he added.

Cai, who works and lives in Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey, said the virus is not one to be taken lightly. In New York, cases of the coronavirus have shot to 106, prompting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency

Cai told the network that he’s not a smoker and had no underlying health conditions before contracting the virus.

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco said Cai was in New York over the weekend, went to work last Monday in New York, felt ill and came to Fort Lee Monday evening and then sought treatment.

Tedesco stressed ‘there was no known contact with anyone here in Fort Lee’.

Ihor Sawczuk, a doctor at Hackensack University Hospital, said Cai is ‘resting comfortably and doing well’.

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said Cai lives with his family in New York but has an apartment in Fort Lee and doesn’t have school-age children.

‘This case is not related to any other cases that we are aware of,’ Sokolich said, referring to the Westchester, New York, cases.

Following Cai’s diagnosis, a woman in her 30′s tested positive for the new coronavirus, becoming New Jersey’s second case.

Acting Gov Sheila Oliver said Thursday that the new case involves a Bergen County woman with mild symptoms, who is in isolation at home.

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