Gov. Murphy announced Wednesday that New Jersey has 489 new cases and 18 additional deaths from COVID-19. He also mentioned concern regarding the rate of transmission remaining above 1.
“I want to address the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases that are being traced to indoor house parties,” said Murphy. “We cannot continue to have crowded house parties. They are not safe. They put the hard work we’ve all undertaken since March at risk of being undone.”
“I understand the desire to escape the heat and head into the air conditioning,” Murphy said. “But, indoor house parties spread coronavirus more efficiently. Over the past four days, we’ve reported roughly 2,000 new positive coronavirus test results. We’re now back to where we were roughly a month ago in the daily number of new cases. We cannot go backwards.”
A house party attended by teens in Middletown last week has now been linked to 50 new positive cases of coronavirus in attendees between the ages of 15 to 19.
A party on Long Beach Island resulted in nearly three-dozen lifeguards testing positive. Murphy also mentioned a massive house party in Jackson that had an estimated 700 people.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli warned that even small indoor gatherings still can spread virus. She mentioned a graduation party in Westfield that resulted in 17 cases and Father’s Day celebration in Essex County linked to three cases. She also said 15 Rutgers football athletes have also tested positive.
“If you are having a gathering, please host it outside,” said Persichilli, who also stated that any tables or setaing needs to be spaced six feet or more apart.
“Being outdoors does not eliminate the need for masks or social distancing,” she added. She also recommended having single use towels and a designated server — one person who serves any food to minimize people touching serving utensils. She also asked people to keep a list of guests for potential future contact tracing needs.