MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – New Jersey has reported approximately 2,000 new cases of the coronavirus in the past four days.

Gov. Phil Murphy says that sets the state back to where it was a month ago in terms of daily new cases.

READ MORE: New Jersey Announces COVID Vaccine And Booster Mandate For Health Care Workers And High-Risk Settings

“We all need to be smart and be safe. We need to wear our masks if we can’t keep social distances,” he said Wednesday. “We can’t afford to go backwards. So let’s get back to using common sense. Let’s get back to remembering the need for personal responsibility. Let’s get back to working as one New Jersey family to defeat COVID-19 together.”

On Tuesday alone, 489 new cases were reported.

Health officials say 125 of those new cases resulted from indoor gatherings.

“This is no time for anyone to be vying for induction into the knucklehead hall of fame,” Murphy said.

WATCH: Gov. Phil Murphy Gives Briefing

More than 50 cases stemmed from a series of house parties involving teens in Middletown, the governor said. Those who tested positive were between the ages of 14 and 19 years old.

“Just because you are younger and hopefully less susceptible to the ravages of COVID-19, it is not an excuse to let your guard down. You are not immune,” said Murphy. “Do not become the person who unknowingly contracts coronavirus at a party and then spreads it to your parents, or your grandparents or other loved ones who may be more susceptible.”

The percentage of cases involving young adults between 18-29 is rising from 24% to 33% this month.


Earlier this week, Harvey Cedars and Surf City officials said they were down nearly three dozen lifeguards after they all attended a party on Long Beach Island.

“We simply cannot continue to have crowded house parties. They are not safe, period. They are how coronavirus gets passed around more efficiently,” the governor said. “They put the hard work we’ve all undertaken together – the millions of us since March – at risk of being undone.”

Police broke up another house party with roughly 700 people over the weekend in Jackson Township.

Murphy said it remains to be seen how many cases will result from that gathering.

READ MORE: Bronx High-Rise Fire: Cardi B Covering Burial Costs For Victims

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

An internal FEMA memo revealed that while cases nationwide decreased slightly over the past week, the number of deaths jumped 30% during the same time period.

It’s causing Murphy to put his foot down on certain phases of reopening.

That’s not what restaurant manager Keneal Petgrave wants to hear.

He has been looking forward to inviting his diners back into Salt, a seafood and oyster bar in New Brunswick.

But the latest uptick is delaying that.

“It’s definitely a blow,” he told CBS2’s Cory James. “We’re being asked to reinvent the wheel, and we’re not really sure how much longer all the restaurants can take this.”


Meanwhile, three lawmakers introduced a bill requiring the upcoming school year to begin with all-remote learning.

“Obviously, the clock is ticking here for the school year, so we’ll be talking about it a lot,” Murphy said.

With more than 180,000 coronavirus cases in the state, there are many concerns and the continued spread of the virus is still the main one.

“If we all do our part, then sooner the better, right? Then we’ll all get back to normal,” New Brunswick resident Lauren Magnusson said.

MORE NEWS: Adams Vows Crackdown On Cars And Cyclists That Fail To Yield For Pedestrians: 'Stop, Let Them Cross'

In Hoboken, the mayor has been vocal about reminding people to wear face masks and coverings. So far, over the last six days, there have only been six new cases.