NEWARK, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy emerged from his self-quarantine Tuesday wearing not one but two face masks.

Last week, despite testing negative for COVID-19, the governor entered a self-quarantine when a family member confirmed they had contracted the virus. His office said he was entering a quarantine “out of an abundance of caution” and thus shifted his press conference to virtual last Wednesday.

The family member's identity has not been disclosed. 

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Standing at a podium in Newark for an unrelated clean transportation announcement, Murphy removed both masks to be heard better. He was socially distanced from attendees.

“That’s the new norm, unfortunately, that we’ve got to live with,” Murphy said Tuesday morning in Newark. “It won't be forever, but a double-mask is the strong advice.”

Earlier in February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed the public that two masks increased protection against coronavirus and the new variants — highlighting the importance of not allowing gaps when fastened on. 

Murphy, 63, has yet to be vaccinated. He’s said others should go ahead of him.

Last week was the second time he has self-quarantined following an exposure last October. After he learned a staff member tested positive, he abruptly left a press conference at Camden County College in Blackwood.

Moreover, while discussing the latest pandemic figures the governor said Tuesday there are 3,114 new coronavirus cases and 31 additional deaths.

He said despite additional individuals contracting COVID-19, New Jersey continues to go in a “good direction.”

Hospitalizations are down to 2,411 patients. On Monday, there were 178 admissions and 156 discharges. The spot positivity is under 10% and the rate of transmission remains below the key metric of 1.0, according to Murphy.

While he did not have an updated vaccine figure, Murphy said it is currently nearing 1.5 million shots (1 million of which are first doses).

According to the New Jersey Department of Health dashboard, there are now 669,481 confirmed cases statewide and 20,251 confirmed deaths.

Read more guidance from the CDC on mask protection here.

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