Murphy: More Contact Tracers Sent to Ocean County as Lakewood Sees Increase in COVID-19

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LAKEWOOD, NJ – Lakewood Township has seen a noticeable increase in COVID-19 positive cases in the past two weeks according to state officials and on Monday, Governor Phil  Murphy said more contact tracers will be sent to Ocean County to try to figure out why.

“We know some social gatherings, particularly in Monmouth, were responsible for increases,” Murphy said. “And generally, in Lakewood, we’re just seeing a general increase in cases. I don’t think we’ve been able to identify any specific cause right now. But again, we’re remaining very vigilant because Lakewood has been a hotspot in the past and we want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Murphy said this weekend’s Rosh Hashana New Year celebration has made contact tracing difficult and delayed contact tracing because of religious customs that would have prevented contact tracers from reaching out to the large Orthodox Jewish community during the extended holiday weekend.

“It’s fair to say, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, we’re probably a little bit delayed on tracking down because of the religious [holiday],” Murphy said.

To track down the latest flareup in Lakewood, Health Commissioner Judith Persichili said the state has redeployed contact traces to investigate what is happening in Lakewood.

“We have redeployed additional contact tracers into Ocean County, particularly to track down the cases in Lakewood, but the religious holidays, we were somewhat delayed in getting calls to the individuals,” Persichili said.

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