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Coronavirus Update: New Jersey's 1st Patient Says He's Recovering Nicely

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The man diagnosed as New Jersey's first coronavirus case told CBS2 on Monday he's feeling much better.

James Cai, 32, works and lives in both Manhattan and Fort Lee. He said he wasn't feeling well so he went to an urgent care clinic and then the emergency room at Hackensack University Medical Center, where he's been hospitalized since March 3.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text 692692 | Westchester Testing Call 1(888)-364-3065 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Case Tracker | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

Cai, a physician's assistant, does not smoke and had no underlying health conditions at the time of his diagnosis. He told CBS2 back on March 9 he believes he contracted the virus while attending a medical conference in Times Square. He said the virus spread quickly to both his lungs.

MORECoronavirus Update: New Jersey COVID-19 Cases Up To 178, More Public Restrictions Statewide

Since then, he said doctors gave him two medications, before he started a clinical trial that seems to have made the difference.

"After I received the first dose, my fever went down and all the lab result is getting better," Cai said. "I think those two medications slow down my virus. I took those two medications for four days and March 11 is the day I got the clinical trial medications. After that medication for one day, all my symptoms getting better. My oxygen level is not dropping anymore."


He said he's cautiously optimistic.

"I feel like I have to take it easy, stay home for two weeks. No contact with my wife or my grandparents because they are in most dangerous group," Cai said.

He said the outpouring of support he has received helped him as he has recovered.

"I'm very thankful for everybody who [has been] very helpful and support me," Cai said. "And this medication really works. So there is a hope. Without this medication, I don't think I can be here today."

Earlier Monday, scientists in Seattle administered the first dose of an experimental coronavirus vaccine.

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