CHERRY HILL, N.J. (WCBS 880) — Gov. Phil Murphy abruptly ended a press conference Wednesday morning just moments after he learned he had been in close contact with somebody who tested positive for coronavirus.
The governor was at Camden Community College to announce $14 million in funding to support workforce development programs but, ended the event after being informed that someone he was in close contact with on Saturday had tested positive. Murphy said the last time he was tested was Monday, and originally misspoke, saying he had tested positive.
“I was just informed, by my colleagues, that I was in close proximity to someone on Saturday who has just tested positive. I tested positive on Monday,” the governor told reporters.
He then quickly corrected himself saying, “I was negative on Monday.”
WCBS 880 originally reported that the governor had tested positive and regrets the error.
The governor then told reporters that he would be removing himself from the press conference to self-quarantine.
“I will now unfortunately have to take myself off the field,” he said. “I can't ask President (Donald) Trump not to come to Bedminster to do a fundraiser and have me sit here. I have no symptoms. Again, I tested negative on Monday but I gotta go take myself at least off the field and get tested again today.”
The governor was referring to President Trump's fundraiser at his golf club earlier this month, which occurred just hours before Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, Murphy called the decision to hold the fundraiser “reckless.”
It is unclear how long Murphy intends to quarantine. He notes that while he is asymptomatic now, there is a multi-day incubation period between close contact and a positive test result.
Murphy’s staffers issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon with more information regarding the governor’s condition:
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 on 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."