Murphy to quarantine through weekend after learning he was near staffer who tested positive for COVID

Governor, who tested negative Wednesday, will cancel all public events and stay home ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Gov. Phil Murphy tested negative for COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon, shortly after he left a public event when he learned someone on his staff — with whom he was in close contact Saturday — had tested positive.

Murphy, however, will cancel all public events and quarantine at home through the weekend out of an abundance of caution, Mahan Gunaratna, the governor’s communications director, said in a release.

Gunaratna did not release the name of the staff member who tested positive, but he did say that the person was quarantining at home. Gunaratna also said the state has begun the process of contact tracing.

(The full statement is below.)

Gunaratna said first lady Tammy Murphy, who also tested negative Wednesday afternoon, also will quarantine.

Murphy did not make a statement in the afternoon, but he explained the situation as he hurriedly left Camden County College earlier in the day.

“I was just informed by my colleagues that I was in close proximity to someone on Saturday who has just tested positive,” Murphy said to those in attendance. “I’ve got to go take myself at least off the field and go and get tested today.”

Murphy made mention of following COVID protocol, regardless of who the person is.

“I can’t ask President (Donald) Trump not to come to Bedminster and do a fundraiser and have me sit here,” he said.

ROI-NJ was not in attendance at the event, where Murphy and other officials announced $14 million in CARES Act funding would be going to workforce development initiatives.

Here is the complete statement from the Governor’s Office:

“A member of the governor’s senior staff recently tested positive for COVID-19. Per guidance from public health officials, the individual is currently quarantining at home. We have begun the contact tracing process to notify everyone who may have come into contact with our colleague during the potential infection window.

“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. The governor received a coronavirus test Monday as part of his regularly scheduled testing regime, which came back negative. The governor and first lady were also tested this afternoon, which came back negative.

“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.”