LAKEWOOD, NJ – On Thursday, the Ocean County Health Department announced 199 new COVID-19 cases as Lakewood Township broke the 5,000 case mark. Lakewood’s latest COVID-19 outbreak was the reason that neighboring Howell Township closed its parks to public use, aside from organized youth sporting events and permit holders. The county’s numbers contradict state numbers provided by Governor Phil Murphy who said today 285 new cases were reported and 206 were in Lakewood.
“We are seeing increases in cases, most notable is the increase in cases that we have been following in ocean county and specifically in Lakewood,” Governor Murphy said. “Today we’re reporting 285 new cases in Ocean County, 206 of which are in Lakewood.”
Murphy said Lakewood is seeing COVID-19 increases primarily in people between 19 and 49 years of age, primarily in white non-hispanic groups and predominantly in males. Murphy went on to blame the increase in cases on gatherings associated with religious services and or celebrations that occurred in late September.
“We are working closely with the local health department and other community leaders to increase testing contact tracing and to provide information on steps to prevent further transmission,” Murphy said. “We’ve greatly increased testing in Lakewood just yesterday more than one thousand individual or individuals were tested today there is testing available at the Monmouth Medical Southern Campus and Lakewood High School.”
Murphy said the high number of cases in Lakewood correlates with the religious days observed by the Orthodox Jewish community that would have prevented testing on those days.
“We have to keep all options on the table,” Murphy said. “And it’s more likely going to be a scalpel than a blunt instrument.”