BLACKWOOD, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife, First Lady Tammy Murphy, entered a voluntary self-quarantine Wednesday afternoon after a senior staff member — who the governor was in close proximity to Saturday — tested positive for coronavirus.
Murphy unexpectedly left a press briefing Wednesday at midday in Camden County, after learning of his exposure to the individual - whose identity has not been revealed. When said 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 Monday. However, he noted Wednesday that that doesn't clear him due to the virus' incubation period, which experts currently believe to last 14 days.
"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 Wednesday's press briefing at Camden County College (CCC) — 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.