New Jersey Gov.Phil Murphy said Wednesday that an increasing number of COVID-19 cases can be traced to indoor house parties, including 50 new positive cases betwen the ages of 14 and 19.
Murphy also announced an additional 489 coronavirus cases and 18 more deaths. He noted that New Jersey had 565 new coronavirus cases and 24 more confirmed deaths on Tuesday. The case number was the highest in the Garden State since June 6th.
During his Wednesday news conference, Murphy expressed concern about gatherings and parties that have caused local spikes in cases in Middletown, Long Beach Island and Jackson, the latter involving a party of 700 people. “Folks, we cannot continue to have crowded house parties. They are not safe, period,” he said. “They’ve put the hard work we’ve taken together since March at the risk of being undone.”
“We simply cannot continue to have crowded house parties,” he added. “Just because you’re younger, it is not an excuse to let your guard down.”
Hundreds of people crammed into a house without face coverings risk undoing the COVID-19 ground gained in this state, the governor said. This week, “We have reported 2,000 new COVID-19 cases,” Murphy said. “We are back to where we were a month ago.”
Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli put an exclamation on the crisis.
“Even smaller gathers can lead to cases,” said Persichilli. “There was an outbreak among Rutgers football players with 15 of them testing positive.”
She mentioned a house party in Cape May, a small Father’s Day gathering, and other scattered anecdotal accounts, all contributing to an upsurge in COVID-19. “If you’re having a gathering, please hold it outside,” she urged.