BLACKWOOD, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy abruptly left a press briefing today after learning that on Saturday he was in close contact with someone who has since tested positive for COVID-19. It is unclear how many people the governor, who is now self-quaranting, exposed over the weekend. 

Murphy, 63, was at a briefing set up outside the student center of Camden County College on October 21 to announce $14 million in funding for workforce development. Twenty minutes into the event a staff member informed him of the news.

"I (got) tested on Monday unrelated to my being in proximity — because I had no idea until just five minutes ago — and it was negative on Monday. I will now unfortunately have to take myself off the field," Murphy said.

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

A little after 11:30 a.m., Murphy stood near Camden County Freeholder Jonathan Young, Congressman Donald Norcross, Department of Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo and others — all wearing face masks and social distancing — prior to the start of the briefing. He elbowed, instead of shook hands with, Norcross and other speakers prior to learning of his exposure. 

The governor did not say how long he would quarantine, but noted that his negative test Monday doesn't necessarily mean he does not have the virus. He said he had no symptoms and would get tested again. "I can’t ask President Trump not to come to Bedminster and do a fundraiser and have me sit here," he said. 

Earlier this month, Murphy criticized President Trump and staff for a visiting New Jersey despite a top aide testing positive for the coronavirus.

On March 4, Murphy had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from one of his kidneys. Roughly a month later one of his own aides, Matt Plakin, tested positive for the virus. He quarantined at home prior to confirming his positive test.

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.

Download the free TAPinto App! Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.