Murphy administration leadership undergoes COVID testing amid positive cases
All of Gov. Phil Murphy’s leadership team is undergoing testing for COVID-19 after at least two senior staff members tested positive for the virus. Some, including the governor, are self-isolating as a precaution.
“Frankly I was not happy,” Murphy said Thursday during a virtual COVID-19 briefing. “But it was the right thing to do. I’m not one for walking off the stage. But we had no choice.”
“I don’t know if all front office staff have been tested, but as of tomorrow, anyone who had not been tested will be tested,” Murphy said.
Murphy and first lady Tammy Murphy spent time on Saturday with Deputy Chief of Staff Mike Delamater and senior advisor Dan Bryan at Pilsener Haus & Biergarten in Hoboken. Murphy, 63, is considered high risk because he had kidney surgery less than seven months ago.
“There's no lapse in judgment. Outside, we wore masks when we walked in, when we left. We even wore them when we were sitting down before our drinks were served. We had them on for a fair amount of time,” Murphy said about his Saturday activities.
News of Delamater's confirmed COVID-19 case caused the governor to suddenly leave a Camden County event Wednesday and immediately head into quarantine.
“By any measure I did not have what you would consider, define as a ‘close contact,’ so when I heard it, it wasn't fun because we were in the middle of an important announcement. We're going above and beyond the public health guidance,” Murphy said.
Separately, Democratic state Sen. Nick Scutari is quarantining after exposure to a different COVID-19 positive case, delaying a State House hearing on marijuana legalization.
“Simply put, we have to remain vigilant - not some of the time, but all of the time. Not only, but especially indoors,” the governor said.
The governor has twice tested negative for the virus but will likely be tested again Saturday and Monday. Both he and the first lady will remain in quarantine as contact tracing continues.
Bryan told News 12 New Jersey that Murphy does not need to quarantine the two weeks he has told others to isolate because the governor didn't have a close contact according to CDC guidelines.