BAYVILLE, NJ – Friday's news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19 reverberated across the country. It especially hit home in New Jersey in light of the fact that the president attended a fundraiser Thursday at his sprawling Bedminster golf course.
Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking during a roundtable discussion with Ocean County officials on Friday, said that contract tracing has commenced and that those who were in close proximity to Trump on Thursday are cooperating with tracers.
“We urge everyone who is in and around the Bedminster events yesterday to take full precaution, including self-quarantining and ultimately getting tested,” Murphy said.
He instructed those who may have been at the 520-acre Trump National Golf Club to wait five or seven days to get tested.
“Even then if you test negative, you have to stay off the field for the full 14 days and would probably want to get tested again at the end of that period,” Murphy said.
News that the president has tested positive for COVID-19 broke early Friday morning, when the president announced it via Twitter.
The White House issued a statement later in the day to say that he is experiencing cold-like symptoms and is fatigued. Vice President Mike Pence has tested negative for the virus, according to officials.
President Joe Biden’s campaign has announced that the Democratic nominee for the presidency and his wife, Jill, have tested negative for COVID-19.
Murphy started today’s roundtable discussion by wishing the Trumps “a speedy and complete return to good health.”
“If there is one thing we have learned in New Jersey over these past six or seven months, it is that we all pull together and support everyone fighting this virus,” he said. “I’ve reached out to the White House to family members today. (Chief of Staff) George Helmy has reached out to the White House, to the RNC, and the president has heard that we are praying for him. We ask that you keep the president and first lady in your prayers.”
Trump’s diagnosis overshadowed the news that cases are up in New Jersey.
Murphy announced 796 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single day total in about four months.
The rate of transmission, 1.19, is at the highest it has been since Aug. 6 and is hovering above the 1.0 rate the Murphy administration has used as a benchmark.
Friday’s numbers bring the state’s total to 206,629 positive cases. The confirmed death toll is at 16,131, with another 1,787 probable deaths.
Murphy was in Ocean County, which has become a hotspot over the past few weeks. Of the 796 new cases statewide, 190 are from Ocean County.
“We have got to be as focused and as vigilant as we’ve been, frankly, since I think late spring,” Murphy said. “The numbers are significant.”