Gov. Murphy in quarantine after senior aide tests positive for COVID-19

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy abruptly left an event on Wednesday to go into quarantine after finding out that a senior staffer had tested positive for COVID-19.

Murphy, a Democrat, was speaking at a workforce development event that his office organized with Democratic Rep. Donald Norcross at Camden County College when he announced he had just learned a person he was with over the weekend had tested positive.

In his announcement, the governor didn't give details on who the person is. Later, his communications director said the person is a "senior staff" member.  

"I will now unfortunately have to take myself off the field," Murphy said from the lectern. "I can't ask President Trump not to come to Bedminster and not do a fundraiser and sit here myself."

Murphy was referring to President Donald Trump's fundraiser at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club early this month, which occurred just hours before the president said he tested positive for the virus. Murphy earlier called the event irresponsible.

"I have no symptoms. Again, I tested negative on Monday," Murphy said. "But I got to go... take myself at least off the field and get tested again today."

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy to quarantine for 14 days after contact tests positive for COVID-19.

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy to quarantine for 14 days after contact tests positive for COVID-19. (Photo via Twitter)

The governor's communications director, Mahen Gunaratna, later released a statement that said Murphy's Wednesday test was negative. 

"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," Gunaratna said in the statement, "and each will take an additional COVID-19 test before they resume any in-person engagements."

He said the senior staff member who tested positive is 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," Gunaratna said.

New Jersey has had more than 222,000 positive cases and 14,438 deaths. The state's daily coronavirus figures have doubled over the past month, state officials said earlier this week.

With The Associated Press

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX5NY News app. Download for FREE!