BLACKWOOD, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy and wife Tammy have entered a voluntary self-quarantine after a senior staff member — with whom the governor was in close contact on Saturday, October 17 — tested positive for coronavirus. 

Murphy unexpectedly left a press briefing on October 21 at midday in Camden County, after learning of his exposure to the individual, whose identity has not been revealed. When this unidentified staff member's positive screening was confirmed has not been disclosed, nor how many individuals Murphy may have exposed.

As part of his weekly test regime, the governor tested negative on Monday, October 19. However, he noted Wednesday that doesn't clear him due to the virus' incubation period, which experts currently believe to last 14 days.

Sign Up for Belmar/Lake Como Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

"Out of an abundance of caution and in line with the highest levels of commitment to protecting public health, the governor and first lady will be canceling their in-person events and voluntarily quarantining through the end of the weekend, and each will take an additional COVID-19 test before they resume any in-person engagements," spokesman Mahen Gunaratna said.

Gunaratna said the senior staff member is currently quarantining at home and contact tracing is underway to inform additional people who may have come in contact with them "during the potential infection window."

Attendees to the press briefing at Camden County College, which focused on new workforce funding, filled out a questionnaire to confirm they had not been exposed to anyone thought to have the coronavirus. Everyone there was required to socially distance and wear a face mask.

Close to noon, Murphy arrived and mingled with Camden County Freeholder Jon Young, Congressman Donald Norcross and others, using elbows in place of handshakes. After the press conference, hand sanitizer was passed around among the speakers.  

"From the beginning, the governor's office has taken every precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19. Today's exceedingly cautious steps are part of that ongoing commitment," Gunaratna added.

TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como is Belmar and Lake Como’s only free daily newspaper. Accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, it is the official electronic newspaper of both municipalities. As a locally owned news organization, TAPinto through its advertisers is able to publish online, objective news 24/7 at no charge. Sign up for its free daily e-News, and follow it on Facebook.