NJ teens at party linked to COVID-19 cluster should come forward: Murphy

A sign reading Hoboken Is Open is displayed in the window as the city reopens from the coronavirus lockdown on June 15, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Photo credit Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
By 1010 WINS

TRENTON, N.J. (1010 WINS) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reported 488 new COVID-19 cases and 36 new deaths on Friday, after urging anyone with information about a cluster linked to a teen house party in Middletown to call the township's health department. 

A total of 13,845 people in New Jersey have now died of COVID-19, and 178,345 tests have come back positive, Murphy said during a briefing Friday afternoon. 

Approximately 20 of those COVID-19 cases have been linked to a house party that took place in Middletown Township on July 11, health officials said Thursday. 

Murphy on Friday urged anyone who attended the party or came into contact with an attendee to call the Middletown Health Department.

“To be perfectly clear, again, this is not a witch hunt to root out anyone who was drinking underage, although we do not condone underage drinking. And remember, folks, it is illegal,” he said. “This is a race against the clock to ensure that everyone who may have been exposed to coronavirus is identified before they infect anyone else.” 

As of Thursday, 800 people in New Jersey were hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, 388 of whom had tested positive and 412 of whom were waiting on test results, Murphy said. Of those patients, 138 were in intensive care units, and 62 were on ventilators, he said. 

“Our hospital trends continue to move in a positive direction,” he said. “Our standing as compared to our sister states likewise continues to improve.” 

The state’s spot positivity rate for tests on July 20 was 2.36 percent, and its rate of transmission currently stands at 0.84. 

“The lower both numbers get, the slower the spread,” Murphy said. “Let’s keep them low.”