Gov. Phil Murphy was exposed to a COVID-19-positive senior staffer while dining at an outdoor event with about half a dozen staffers on Saturday, he said during a radio hit Thursday morning.
The governor and First Lady Tammy Murphy began their quarantine Wednesday after the governor was informed a senior administration staffer who briefly attended the Saturday outing tested positive for the virus.
The front office has since announced positive tests from two senior administration staffers, Mike Delamater, deputy chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs, and Dan Bryan, senior advisor to the governor for strategic communications.
“That has led us both send everybody to work from home, as well as aggressively test our team, and in some cases other staff members that they had closer more prolonged contact with, with our colleagues, they in fact will be quarantining for that 14 days,” he said of the two staffers’ positive tests.
The infections have led to a mass quarantine among front office staff, though Murphy said no other staffers have tested positive thus far.
“Our entire Front office is working from home right now,” he told 1010 WINS News’ Brigitte Quinn. “We are all virtual.”
Both Delamater and Bryan remain asymptomatic. The governor and first lady returned negative tests Wednesday afternoon. They are quarantining through at least Monday and intend to be tested again on Saturday and Monday.
The Murphys were maskless during at least part of the outing, he said.
“Folks were wearing masks at least to the best of my recollection,” the governor said. “But at the table, you’re having a drink, you’re eating something, by definition, you’re taking your mask off.”
The governor’s quarantine plan would see him remanded to his home for less time than is suggested by the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC urges a 14-day quarantine from the time of last contact.
Murphy’s quarantine would last until about nine days after his exposure, though he said that may change depending on test results.
“I was not really right up against this person. It was at most 15 minutes and we were outdoors,” he said of his exposure. “Having said all, we’re taking the steps we are taking out of an abundance of caution and we reserve the right by the way based on tests and other developments to extend this. as we think we need to.”