New Jersey governor missing in action as COVID-19 continues to soar, cases increase and testing nearly impossible to get

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TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy will not be taking time out from his Central American Christmas vacation with his family in Costa Rica as cases of COVID-19 continue to soar back home in New Jersey. New Jersey’s COVID-19 case count has reached pandemic highs over the past week and residents are finding it nearly impossible to get tested either at home or in person due to shortages and insufficient testing capacity.

While between 15,000 and 20,000 New Jerseyans are testing positive daily for COVID-19 since the Governor’s departure to Central America, countless thousands of new cases go unreported as sick New Jerseyans are finding it more difficult to get tested than ever before.

Murphy took time out on Monday from his vacation to attend a video conference call with President Joe Biden where he told the president, all is well back home in the Garden State. But, all is not well in New Jersey as people who require COVID-19 positive testing for jobs, travel, and events are unable to get their state-mandated testing done.

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Things are going so well, that Murphy’s press office today said the governor won’t be hosting a public COVID-19 briefing until after the New Year, on January 3rd, once he’s done vacationing in Costa Rica.

Now, possibly seven days from the next public appearance by the Governor, New Jerseyans are left to fend for themselves without and state guidance, news or updates on the escalating situation.

Murphy leaving for Costa Rica as the state enters its worst period of the pandemic on record has been compared to Ted Cruz leaving Texas during a power grid crippling snowstorm and former Governor Chris Christie relaxing on a beach closed to the public with his family during a government lockdown.

The governor has faced sharp criticism for his vacation decision by his constituents.

“Enjoy the beach while our residents are in fear standing in testing lines. Remember your criticism of our former Governor sitting on the beach Mr. Murphy. Who is tone-deaf now. Why didn’t your admin use the covid funds for testing? Ooops that would have meant being proactive and good use of the funds. Enjoy your vacation in Costa Rica with your family. Our families are standing in testing lines,” one resident said.

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On Monday, Murphy announced a “COVID-19 Surge Response” will be launched in partnership with the federal government, but did not give any details as to what that means, where it will be, or when it will be online.

“To increase availability of COVID-19 testing in the state, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will establish a surge testing site in New Jersey.  The site will be part of the CDC’s Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) for COVID-19 Surge Response effort, which partners with pharmacies and commercial laboratories to provide free testing resources to underserved communities. The New Jersey Department of Health is working with CDC officials to determine a location for the surge testing site, when a location is selected and a timeline for opening is established it will be announced to the public,” Murphy’s administration said in a press release.

“With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, it is imperative that we remain vigilant and provide tools for our residents to stay safe,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This testing site will be an invaluable means to continue mitigating the spread of the pandemic. I thank our federal partners for their continued support and commitment to keeping New Jerseyans healthy.”

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Tools most cannot find right now.

“We appreciate the federal government’s support to make this resource available to New Jersey residents,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli completely ignoring the problem at hand. “Testing is an important tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our state.”