April 16, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) reported today, April 16, five new positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Princeton in the past 24 hours for a total of 74 cases, 35 active and 36 recovered with isolation complete, and three deaths.

The PHD continues to monitor closely the situations at Princeton Care Center and the Acorn Glen assisted living facility. Two of Princeton’s COVID-19-related deaths occurred at the Care Center, where there are currently three active cases, and the PHD announced today that there are two confirmed cases at Acorn Glen, where the PHD is working with the facility’s administration on outbreak management and response, including an isolation plan for those exposed to the confirmed cases.

The PHD also announced today that a Princeton firefighter has tested positive for COVID-19. The firefighter, who began displaying symptoms on Sunday, April 12 and immediately took steps to self-isolate, is not currently hospitalized and continues to show mild symptoms of COVID-19.

The Princeton Fire Department has been employing a continuity of operations plan over the last several weeks, which has limited this exposure to a small group of firefighters, who are self-monitoring for symptoms. more

April 13, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) reported today, April 13, the death of a male in his 90s, the third death in Princeton from coronavirus (COVID-19) and the second death of a Princeton Care Center (PCC) resident.

Three additional patients at PCC who have tested positive and those who are symptomatic are being isolated in a separate wing of the facility. Due to the possibility for asymptomatic spread, the PHD is monitoring vital signs for all residents and staff daily, working to have all staff tested, and continuing to reinforce the facility’s universal masking policy. Staff exposed to confirmed COVID-19 patients have been placed in quarantine.

The PHD also reported 62 total cases of COVID-19 in Princeton, with 35 active cases in isolation and 24 cases recovered, with isolation complete.  The PHD attributes the increases to more testing and increased community transmission.

“Because of continued limitations in testing, and because there is growing evidence that the virus can be carried and spread by asymptomatic individuals, we should all presume that the prevalence of coronavirus in our community exceeds those figures,” today’s  PHD update stated. “All residents have been ordered to stay home.” more

April 10, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, in his press briefing today, April 10, pointed out some “good early signs, important early signs” of a leveling off in the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state, but the numbers of cases and deaths from the disease continue to rise.

Murphy reported 233 deaths in the past 24 hours for a total of 1,932 COVID-19-related deaths in the state and an additional 3,627 new cases for a total of 54,588 confirmed cases. Murphy urged New Jersey residents to stay apart, stay home, and practice social distancing for this holiday weekend as the only way to get past the peak of this pandemic.

Murphy’s message was echoed in a press release from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan.

“It will be hard this holiday weekend to miss loved ones and forego traditional family get-togethers, but it is absolutely critical that we all stay home and maintain social distance,” Grewal said. “There are indications that these measures are indeed flattening the curve of the pandemic in the U.S., but if we let our guard down now by traveling for holiday gatherings, more lives will be put at risk.” more

April 9, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

New Jersey officials announced today, April 9, that there were 198 new deaths in the state in the past 24 hours from coronavirus (COVID-19), for a total of 1,700 deaths, with 3,748 additional positive tests for a total of 51,027 cases of the coronavirus statewide.

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) announced yesterday, April 8, a second COVID-19 death in Princeton, a male patient in his 80s.  He had pre-existing health conditions and was under medical care at the Princeton Care Center.

Upon testing positive for COVID-19, the patient was immediately moved to an isolated wing of the facility. The PHD is investigating potential exposure to other residents of the facility and staff.

Princeton now has 50 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, with the PHD currently monitoring 24 active cases. Twenty-four cases have recovered.  more

April 6, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

As New Jersey deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19) rose to 1,003, with positive tests for COVID-19 increasing by 3,663 to at least 41,090 on Monday, April 6, Gov. Phil Murphy pointed out signs that the curve is beginning to flatten in New Jersey and that a peak in cases could occur later this month or in early May.

The Princeton Health Department today reported a total of 41 positive cases in Princeton, with one COVID-19-related death reported last week.

In his daily briefing from Trenton, Murphy noted that state health officials, for the first time, are beginning to see a decline in the growth rate of new COVID-19 cases. He emphasized that residents need to continue to follow orders to stay home and practice social distancing in order to prevent the curve from rising again.

Murphy presented a projected infection chart that showed 86,000 cases as a best-case scenario and 509,000 as the worst-case scenario at the peak, with the peak coming between April 19 and May 11.

“While we are not anywhere close to being out of the woods just yet, we are clearly on the right path to get there,” Murphy said. “Our efforts to flatten the curve are starting to pay off.”

The number of COVID-19-related deaths in Mercer County spiked to 19 over the weekend, with 740 total cases reported.

For more information, visit princetoncovid.org or covid19.nj.gov.

April 3, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) reported six new positive cases of COVID-19 today, April 3, bringing the total number of cases in Princeton to 37, with 25 active cases and 11 who are no longer under isolation. PHD yesterday reported the first death in Princeton from the coronavirus, a woman in her 90s who may have contracted the disease from a home health aide.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced today 113 new COVID-19 related deaths in the state for a total of 646 deaths with 4,372 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours for a total of at least 29,895 cases. Murphy also urged New Jersey residents to fly flags at half-staff as a visual memorial to the coronavirus victims.  COVID-19 is now the most common cause of death in the state, which has the second most cases in the country after New York.

The PHD also announced yesterday that a Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad (PFARS) member has tested positive for COVID-19. The member began displaying symptoms on March 26 and immediately took steps to self-isolate. The squad member is currently not hospitalized, and the member’s COVID-19 symptoms have subsided.

The Squad member had contact with the public on one occasion during the period of communicability, but the instance posed little to no threat of exposure because the member was wearing protective equipment. All PFARS members who had direct contact with the member have been notified by PFARS or the PHD.

The exposure has been limited to a small group of squad members who are all currently being quarantined. PFARS disinfected all areas of the building and ambulances (which are decontaminated after every use) immediately after learning that the member was not feeling well. more

April 2, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

A female, over 90 years old, was confirmed by the Princeton Health Department (PHD) today, April 2, as the first death in Princeton from coronavirus (COVID-19). The woman may have contracted the coronavirus from a home health aide, whose contacts are being investigated by the PHD.

Princeton now has 32 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 20 of which are in isolation and being monitored by the PHD. Eleven cases have recovered.  Mercer County today reported totals of 386 cases and four deaths.

Gov. Phil Murphy today announced 182 new deaths, the state’s largest one-day jump, for a total of 537 deaths, and 3,489 new positive tests, for a total of 25,590 total coronavirus cases. Because of a backlog in testing results, the new deaths and cases reported today did not all come in the past 24 hours.

Almost half (47 percent) of the total deaths in the state have been residents over age 80, officials reported.

In its 3 p.m. update, the PHD continued to strongly recommend continued social distancing and urged that “all Princeton residents, workers, students, and visitors take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against novel coronavirus. Your health and the health of the community is our top priority.”

For more information, visit princetoncovid.org or covid19.nj.gov.

A special meeting via Zoom will be held Monday, April 6 at 7 p.m. by Princeton Council. Instructions for how to access the meeting can be found at www.princetonnj.gov.

The Council will meet electronically from 5-7 p.m. in a portion that is not open to the public, during which no formal action is expected to be taken. The agenda will be posted on Friday, April 3, at the above address.

March 30, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to take its toll on New Jersey with a record 3,347 new cases in the past 24 hours for a total of 16,636 confirmed cases in the state and 37 new deaths, for a total of 198 fatalities.

The number of positive cases in Princeton rose to 26, according to the Princeton Health Department, while the New Jersey Department of Health announced that there are now 249 cases of COVID-19 in Mercer County. All these numbers are expected to rise in the coming days as testing increases and the virus continues to spread.

 “These numbers have gone up dramatically,” Gov. Phil Murphy said at his press briefing today, March 30.  “We expect them to continue to go up dramatically.”

Mercer County is opening a drive-up testing site at Quaker Bridge Mall on Tuesday, March 31.  The site will operate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for symptomatic residents of Mercer County, by appointment only with a prescription from a primary health care provider. more

March 29, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) announced this weekend that two Princeton police officers have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Both officers began displaying symptoms about a week ago and immediately took steps to self-isolate. One is showing mild symptoms of COVID-19. The other is showing moderate symptoms. The officers have written no citations, have made no arrests, and have had limited contact with the public during the period of communicability.

Anyone who had direct contact with either officer is being notified by the PHD. The Princeton Police Department (PPD) has been employing a plan over the last several weeks which has isolated this exposure to a small group of officers, who are all being quarantined.

As soon as the PPD received information that the officers were not feeling well, all areas of the police department and patrol vehicles were disinfected.

One additional member of the police department is currently awaiting test results.  more

March 27, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

New Jersey officials announced 27 new deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19) today, March 27, with 1,982 new known cases in the state, bringing totals to 8,825 positive tests and 108 deaths. New Jersey ranks second in the country after New York in most COVID-19 cases reported.

There have been 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Princeton and 131 in Mercer County. Northern and Eastern New Jersey counties account for the vast majority of New Jersey cases so far.

Wth testing lags as long as seven days, the actual number of cases in the state is likely much higher than reported, according to state officials, who expect the number of positive cases to continue rising, with the peak of infections possibly three weeks away.

The NJ Department of Health and local officials continue to advise residents: Whether you are ill or not, adhere to the governor’s Executive Order and stay home. If you must leave your home, practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, Health Officer Jeff Grosser, and Board of Health Chair Dr. George DiFerdinando provided guidance and fielded questions from the public in a 90-minute online session this morning, and Grosser returned this afternoon on princetoncovid.org with responses to COVID-19 questions.

Grosser’s comments included discussion of best practices for social distancing, self-quarantining, and self–isolation; the governor’s Executive Order on COVID-19;  warning signs;  supplies to have on hand; and other suggestions for breaking the chain of transmission.

“Each one of us is currently taking a role in ending this pandemic,” said Grosser.

Many municipal and nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals have been reaching out with help for the community in combating the pandemic. Princeton Human Services announced that residents should visit princetoncovid.org for information and assistance. Human Services also urged those looking for resources to call (609) 396-9355 ext. 11 for home delivery of free pre-packaged bags of food from Arm in Arm; or call Human Services at (609) 688-2055 for assistance paying bills and other essential expenses due to job loss; or if threatened with eviction; or if experiencing wage theft (not paid for work you have done or not properly paid overtime wages). Certain services are based on income eligibility and program criteria.

For more information, visit princetoncovid.org.

March 26, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

Anticipated community spread and increased testing have pushed New Jersey’s total of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases to at least 6,876, with 2,492 new positive tests announced today, March 26, by Gov. Phil Murphy in his daily coronavirus press briefing. There have been at least 81 deaths from coronavirus in the state, with 19 deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

Mercer County has reported 111 cases, an increase of 29 since Wednesday. The majority of the  cases in the state so far have occurred in counties in the northern half of the state.

In measures designed to slow the spread of the virus, Murphy has ordered all non-essential businesses to close, all schools to close, and people to stay at home except for work and necessary travel. Supermarkets and pharmacies are open. Restaurants are permitted to offer takeout and delivery only. Social gatherings are banned, and officials have announced that those who violate the orders will be prosecuted.

As of Wednesday evening, the Princeton Health Department (PHD) reported 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Princeton, nine males and five females. It is impossible to keep a precise tally, the PHD noted, because of widespread testing throughout the region, but they are continuing to investigate and highlight the most critical exposures and disease events. more

March 23, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

With 935 new cases announced today, March 23, New Jersey now has 2,844 COVID-19 cases, the second highest total in the nation. Governor Phil Murphy also reported seven new deaths today for a total of 27 deaths in the state.  Health officials expect the numbers to continue to climb rapidly as testing expands and the spread accelerates. New York State has the most cases in the country with more than 20,000.

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) on Sunday night reported a total of nine confirmed cases, with 12 negative test results.  “We have documented several instances of community exposure,” the PHD stated. “We must presume there is some possibility for exposure in ANY community situation, and protect ourselves accordingly.”

The PHD noted that with expanded testing through many different testing facilities throughout the region, precise case counts for Princeton may not be available. “While our ability to keep a precise tally will be impossible, it will also be less important,” the PHD report stated. “Instead we will continue to investigate and highlight the most critical exposures and disease events that happen in our community, allowing us to offer specific information on where individuals may have been exposed, and what actions they can take to take care of themselves and protect others they may come in contact with.” more

March 22, 2020

Dear Princeton Community,

This has been another challenging and heartbreaking week. Your daily life has undoubtedly been upended by coronavirus, and you are likely making painful economic and personal sacrifices in the interest of public health. We know from the experience in other countries that staying at home and practicing social distancing will work. They are our best existing tools to slow the spread of this disease. “Flattening the curve” is necessary to give our first responders and medical care system the time they need to gear up to deal with the incoming volume of sick people, and to give our scientists the time, hopefully, to invent an effective treatment.

The next few weeks are going to put our patience to the test. Everyone should prepare themselves for what the experts tell us is going to happen: even though we are at home, washing our hands, keeping our distance, watching our favorite businesses close, losing our jobs, not going to school or work, and not visiting with friends, the number of cases in Princeton is going to go up. The number of cases is likely to go up exponentially during this time. This is for a number of reasons: 1) more testing kits and testing facilities are coming online. More tests will produce more confirmed cases; 2) coronavirus is extremely contagious and has been spreading in our community. Recent research from a team of scientists including those at Princeton University has shown that the virus can live in the air and on surfaces for hours; and 3) the virus can lay dormant for up to two weeks before making you sick. We should not expect to see any evidence of our collective sacrifice until after more than two weeks of staying at home and practicing social distancing. We must have faith that our efforts are working even when we will not immediately be seeing results.

While this pandemic is like nothing we’ve ever experienced as a country, like other challenges it has brought out the best in the Princeton community. I am especially thankful this week to our entire municipal team, our Health Department led by Jeff Grosser, our Board of Health led by George DiFerdinando, our first responder team led by Chief Sutter, the Princeton Public Library, especially the new Executive Director Jennifer Podolsky, Tim Quinn, and the entire team putting together the princetoncovid.org site, the front-line workers at our grocery and drug stores, and everyone who has stepped forward to help deliver food, run errands, and donate money and supplies. We are all in this together, and we will all pull through together.


March 20, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

With officials expecting numbers to surge as testing expands and the coronavirus spreads, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced today, March 20, that there were 155 new positive tests for COVID-19, bringing the total to 890 in the state, with 11 deaths. Murphy urged residents not to be alarmed by rising numbers of cases, and to continue practicing social distancing measures.

In his daily coronavirus press briefing, Murphy said that further restrictions would be implemented in the next 24 hours, including shutting down nonessential businesses in order to “‘further tighten screws in terms of social distancing,” according to nj.com.

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) announced late this afternoon the sixth and seventh cases of coronavirus identified in Princeton. more

March 19, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

With increased testing and the accelerating spread of the coronavirus, New Jersey officials announced 318 new positive tests for COVID-19 today, March 19, bringing the state total to 742. Four new deaths were announced for a total of nine deaths in New Jersey.

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) today announced a fifth confirmed COVID-19 case in Princeton, with the individual identified as “a close contact of an attendee of the February 29th house party. The infected individual has been advised of the exposure and was self-isolating in advance of developing symptoms.”

In addition, the PHD and the Princeton Public Schools announced today that a Riverside Elementary School teacher has tested positive for COVID-19.  PPS reported that the teacher is currently in the hospital and beginning to feel better. PPS Superintendent Steve Cochrane wrote in an email to staff and families, “The Department of Health will be reaching out to students, parents, and staff who may have had more prolonged contact with this particular staff member.”  A separate letter was sent to the Riverside community providing guidance. more

March 18, 2020

Princeton Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser released the following information in an update on March 18:

Princeton has four positive laboratory confirmed coronavirus cases, and seven negative laboratory confirmed coronavirus cases. Four tests are awaiting results. Six persons are currently under investigation due to travel or close contact to a confirmed case (not symptomatic), all are quarantined. Three persons are isolated due to being symptomatic and did not receive testing. Twenty persons under investigation have been cleared from quarantine or monitoring (this number includes seven that were not tested from the party and were asymptomatic).

Grosser notes that the number of confirmed cases will continue to rise exponentially as more people get tested and gain access to testing throughout our region. He said that is expected and is not an indicator that social distancing does not work. Social distancing works, but it has only been in effect for three days.

Childcare and daycare centers  are still in operation.

Senior living sites have been requested to reduce or end non-essential visitation and increase health screening of worker and essential visitors.

Food trucks have been cleared for operation, but they must be from an existing Princeton business and have been provided instruction from the Princeton Health Department on what they should be doing to keep residents safe, but fed.

The Princeton Health Department has also released local guidance on how retail food establishments should be operating.

Police Chief Nicholas Sutter notes that gatherings of 50 or more persons, and other such COVID-19 curfew and social distancing infractions, do not require use of the 911 emergency system. Please call the police department phone line at (609) 921-2100 for rules violations. The non-emergency lines are answered by trained communications officers who will answer and assist you.

In addition, a new website, princetoncovid.org, provides the latest information from the municipality, Princeton Public Library, and Princeton Public Schools.

March 16, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

As the number of positive tests for COVID-19 rose to 178 in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has announced the closure of all schools, movie theaters, casinos, gyms, nightclubs, and racetracks beginning tonight at  8 p.m. They must remain closed until further notice from the state.

In ongoing efforts to halt the spread of the virus, the governor also banned dining in restaurants,  and gatherings of more than 50 people. He recommended a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. except for emergencies and essential travel. Restaurants can still offer delivery, curbside pickup, and takeout.

Murphy also said that he is mobilizing the New Jersey National Guard to assist in any way possible in handling this emergency.

For local information go to princetonnj.gov or mercercounty.org/covid-19, or call the New Jersey Department of Health hotline at (800) 222-1222.

March 12, 2020

By Anne Levin

In an ever-changing situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton University announced Wednesday that all undergraduate classes will be held online for the rest of the semester, and that students should not return to campus following spring break. And Communiversity, originally scheduled for April 26, has now been postponed until Sunday, October 11.

“All students who are able to must return home and stay home for the rest of the semester,” reads a message to the University community from Jill Dolan, dean of the University, and W. Rochelle Calhoun, vice president for Campus Life. “University settings like Princeton present unique challenges during a pandemic, because of the density of students living and studying in close quarters. Large, highly concentrated numbers of students living on campus will increase the chance of rapid transmission of the coronavirus. Furthermore, our capacity to quarantine those who are sick and those who have been exposed is extremely limited.”  more

August 15, 2018

By Anne Levin

A 23-year-old man died Friday after jumping into Lake Carnegie off the dock near the boat launch. Talven Page, of Trenton, swam a few moments before disappearing under the water and failed to resurface, according to the Princeton Police Department.

The matter remains under investigation by the department’s Detective Bureau. Police were notified at 2:52 p.m. Friday, August 10, by a friend of Page, who said he saw him enter the water. The police arrived three minutes later, and two officers entered the water and searched the area. more

July 18, 2018

THREE ALARMS: Two firefighters sustained minor injuries in the three-alarm blaze at 140 Hodge Road on Monday night. But damage to the nine-bedroom mansion, which was empty and has been on and off the market for years, was considerable. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

A three-alarm fire caused significant damage and minor injuries to two firefighters at a house on Hodge Road in Princeton’s Western Section late Monday night. No one was inside the 5,802-square-foot home at 140 Hodge Road when the fire was reported at about 11:50 p.m. more

May 16, 2018

PILLAR OF THE COMMUNITY: James Floyd’s influence on Princeton, especially the Witherspoon-Jackson district, touched many over several decades.

By Anne Levin

James Floyd, Princeton’s first African American mayor and longtime civil servant, died Monday morning. A community activist who worked tirelessly to promote civil rights, he was a mentor to many and a familiar figure to anyone involved in local politics. He was instrumental in getting the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood designated a historic district.

“Jim Floyd was a change agent,” said Princeton Councilman Lance Liverman, who grew up in Princeton and knew Floyd nearly his whole life. “This is my definition of someone who truly has changed the direction or path others may have gone. Jim was a mover and shaker in the area of affordable housing in Princeton. This was his passion.” more

April 11, 2018

By Anne Levin

The New Jersey Attorney General’s office released footage Monday related to the March 20 shooting incident at the Panera Bread restaurant on Nassau Street. The surveillance video shows state troopers firing the shots that killed Scott L. Mielentz, the 56-year-old Lawrenceville man who entered the eatery that morning, wielding a BB pistol. more

March 28, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

Optimistic organizers anticipated hundreds, but thousands of people showed up in Hinds Plaza Saturday to join Princeton’s March for Our Lives rally, one of more than 800 across the country in support of the national march in Washington, D.C., demanding that lawmakers take action against gun violence.

Estimated at more than 4,000, the crowd overflowed the Plaza. Witherspoon and Hulfish streets were closed to traffic.  more

By Anne Levin

With the New Jersey Attorney General’s office in charge of investigating the shooting at the Panera Bread restaurant on Nassau Street last week, Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter is limited in how much he can share about the incident until the investigation is completed. But Sutter wants to keep the public as informed as he can about the events surrounding the death of 56-year-old Scott Mielentz, who was fatally shot after an armed standoff involving local, county, and state police; the FBI; and Princeton University police. more