HARVEY CEDARS, N.J. (AP) -- More than two dozen lifeguards from two New Jersey beach towns have tested positive for the coronavirus after having been together socially, authorities said.
Officials said the lifeguards are from Harvey Cedars and Surf City, neighboring boroughs on Long Beach Island.
Mayor Jonathan Oldham of Harvey Cedars said Health Department discovered the cluster last Thursday and the lifeguards were being quarantined until they are cleared by doctors.
Long Beach Island's health director told WHYY that the guards were apparently together at two "social gatherings'' earlier this month.
Harvey Cedars said Saturday that 17 lifeguards, all of whom had "attended a party in Surf City," had tested positive for COVID-19.
"Close contacts and attendees of this gathering have been quarantined. Individuals will not be eligible to return to work, at the earliest and at management discretion, until they meet discharge criteria established by the LBI Health Department," Harvey Cedars wrote on its website.
The island's health director earlier noted a dozen Surf City lifeguards had tested positive.
Harvey Cedars said on its website that it has 73 lifeguards and therefore "our beaches will remain fully staffed with all safety protocols in place.'' Surf City said its beaches "will remain protected from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily'' but "adjustments may be made from day to day to ensure the safety of all patrons and guards."