Gov. Phil Murphy to Self-Quarantine After Staff Member Tests Positive for COVID-19

October 21, 2020 Updated: October 21, 2020

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Oct. 21 he will self-quarantine after coming in “close proximity” to one of his senior staffers who recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Murphy, 63, made the sudden announcement at a press conference on Camden County Community College’s main campus on Oct. 17. About 23 minutes into the event, the Democratic governor said he had just learned that he had been near someone who contracted the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“I was just informed by my colleagues that I was in close proximity to someone on Saturday who has just tested positive,” said Murphy, who was wearing a mask. “I will now, unfortunately, have to take myself off the field.”

“I can’t ask President Trump not to come to Bedminster and do a fundraiser and have me sit here,” he added. Trump attended a campaign fundraiser at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Oct. 1, shortly before he announced he tested positive for COVID-19.

According to a statement from Murphy’s office, Murphy and his wife, Tammy, will quarantine until the end of the weekend.

“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 statement reads.

“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.”

The senior staffer who tested positive was later identified as Mike DeLamater, the deputy chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs.

Four governors have tested positive for COVID-19, but one turned out to be a false positive. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt in July became the first governor to announce a positive diagnosis. He recovered and returned to work less than two weeks later. In August, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that a rapid test showed positive results, but a more sensitive test he took shortly after returned negative.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, who tested positive in late September, said earlier this month that he felt “healthy” while his wife continues to experience only mild symptoms. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who is also a doctor, wrote on Facebook that he had “developed some mild cold-like symptoms” but is still “feeling good.”