October 22, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has reached the New Jersey State House, as Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife — first lady Tammy Murphy — have been forced to self-quarantine after two of the governor's staff members tested positive for the virus.
Murphy broke the news of his potential exposure to the virus during an event at Camden County Community College on Wednesday with U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross. He was forced to leave early.
"I will now, unfortunately, have to take myself off the field," Murphy said before leaving.
Murphy said during his COVID-19 briefing on Thursday that he and his wife will get tested on Saturday and Monday before returning to public activities.
"No one is immune from this virus," Murphy said. "We must remain vigilant."
The first person on Murphy’s staff to test positive for COVID-19 was Mike DeLamater, who serves as deputy chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs, according to the USA Today Network. The second person was Dan Bryan, who serves as a senior adviser.
Both officials are quarantining at home, Murphy’s communications director Mahen Gunaratna said in a statement.
"We have begun the contact tracing process to notify everyone who may have come into contact with our colleague during the potential infection window," Gunaratna said.
"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."
Murphy tested negative for the virus Monday as part of his regularly-scheduled testing regimen. He and Tammy both tested negative Wednesday afternoon too, Gunaratna said.
"From the beginning, the governor's office has taken every precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19," Gunaratna said. "Today's exceedingly cautious steps are part of that ongoing commitment."
Today I learned that a member of my senior staff recently tested positive for #COVID19.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) October 21, 2020
I tested negative on Monday and again this afternoon.
In line with our commitment to protecting public health, @FirstLadyNJ and I will be quarantining through the end of the weekend. pic.twitter.com/lJRoWn4U1z
Murphy’s contact with DeLamater occurred Saturday night during an outdoor social gathering that lasted a little over an hour, but DeLamater showed up to the event late and was not with the Murphys "for a sustained period of time," according to the USA Today Network.
DeLamater and Bryan are not the first members of the Murphy administration to test positive for COVID-19. Murphy’s former chief counsel, Matt Platkin, tested positive for the virus in April.
The recent outbreak among Murphy’s staff comes as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise across New Jersey. The state recorded more than 1,000 new positive coronavirus cases on Wednesday for the fourth straight day.