With New COVID-19 “Outbreak” in Ocean County, Murphy Worries About Holiday Weekend Spikes

TOMS RIVER, NJ – Ocean County is now experiencing a new COVID-19 outbreak according to Governor Phil Murphy.  Today, when asked about the increase in new positives across Ocean County and whether or not it is now considered an outbreak Murphy said, “Yea, I think.  That’s a triple-digit day and we haven’t had many of those for any county in while.

On Saturday there were 71 new cases of COVID-19 reported, 44 of which were in Lakewood Township.

Between Monday and Wednesday of this past week, 100 people have tested positive for COVID-19 according to figures released by the Ocean County Health Department.  The increase comes as a New Jersey Health Department report listed the shore area’s COVID-19 risk as “moderate” earlier in the week.    According to the Ocean County Health Department daily COVID report, on Monday, Lakewood reported 12 cases,  22 were reported on Tuesday and  71 reported on Wednesday.

Last week, the county also reported several Lakewood Police Officers have been quarantined after it was learned that at least one attendee at a public funeral for a fallen police officer was diagnosed as COVID-19 positive.  Today marks the 183rd day since Governor Phil Murphy announced closures for two weeks in New Jersey to flatten the curve.

“We are spiking here in Ocean County,” said Ocean County Freeholder. “We had 121 new cases this week and Lakewood had 71.”

We are certainly concerned about the increase in Ocean County and we are in the process of working with the local health department to better characterize what’s been going on. But to reiterate what the Commissioner has been saying, we’ve been finding some very common patterns with regard to why we’re seeing increases in cases, a lot associated with gatherings. It’s a point to raise that you can definitely gather socially,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan. “We’re coming up with holidays coming up as well, you can gather safely and we just have to remember the same simple mantras we’ve been saying this entire time about the social distancing, the masks and the appropriate hand hygiene. And again, the other trends relate to the younger populations. Again, we have to stress that continuous, everyday preventive measures, the same measures that we’ve been saying this entire time.”

Murphy warned that with cooler temperatures outside, more people are now moving indoors and with the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashana at the mid-way point Saturday night, Murphy expressed concern.

“We don’t have therapeutics, we don’t have a vaccine, so what we’re left with is a very basic but effective set of parameters that if we live by, we’ll be okay,” Murphy said Friday. “Again, particularly as it’s gotten cooler, it’s going to be cooler this weekend, people are going to be more likely to be indoors than out. We’ve got a religious holiday, obviously, so you’ve got probably a heavier worship reality this weekend.”

“I would love nothing more than to be able to say we’re out of the woods, you don’t have to do any of that anymore,” Murphy said “It’s just not the case, and we’ve got to make sure that we don’t let our guard down.”


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