Murphy's Warning Comes As Sussex County Health Officials Investigate New COVID-19 Cluster Linked To Graduation Party

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork)Gov. Phil Murphy warned Friday that he may pause or reverse New Jersey’s reopening as coronavirus cases continue to climb.

“We still may be among the leaders in having the lower case numbers… but we are standing in a very dangerous place,” said Murphy. “The alarms are going off.”

The statewide transmission rate rose to 1.35 in the last week from a spike in new COVID-19 cases, according to Murphy, who said that number will likely continue to grow as new data comes in.

MORE: Concern Grows In New Jersey After Thousands Of New COVID-19 Cases Reported; A ‘Match Waiting To Hit The Powder Keg’

“We are not past this,” said Murphy. “Everyone who walks around refusing to wear a mask, or who hosts an indoor house party, or who overstuffs a boat is directly contributing to these increases.”

Watch Gov. Murphy’s July 31 briefing here:

The Sussex County Department of Health, meanwhile, said it is investigating a new cluster of infections, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported Friday.

Six teens tested positive for COVID-19. Five live in Sussex County, one lives in another. The teens are 17 to 18 years old, and all attended a graduation party. Health officials said contact tracing identified 24 people who came into close contact with them.

Earlier rounds of testing this week found more than 2,000 new cases, including dozens of Jersey Shore lifeguards who attended social gatherings.


Murphy said the limit on indoor gatherings remains at either 100 people or 25 percent capacity – whichever is lower. But, he said the limits could be lowered if the situation worsens.

“I’m not announcing any specific action today, but consider this as being put on notice,” said Murphy. “We will not tolerate these devil-may-care, nonchalant attitudes any longer.”

Airbnb recently suspended or removed 35 New Jersey listings that have received complaints or violated policies on parties.

RELATED STORY: More Than 50 Teens In Middletown Test Positive For Coronavirus After Series Of Indoor Parties, Murphy Says

“We have seen a distinct shift to younger, less chronically ill people,” said Dr. Dan Varga, chief physician executive for Hackensack Meridian Health.

“While we are comfortable that the likelihood of young people actually dying from COVID is probably very, very, very low, as long as more people are getting infected, they’re vectors for transmitting this disease to people who could die very easily,” he said.

Watch Alice Gainer’s report:

While all hospitals in the system are stockpiling supplies in case of a resurgence, Dr. Varga said there is something others can do to help prevent it.

“I think the thing that young people really need to know is that you wear the mask not to protect yourself. You wear the mask to protect others.” said Dr. Varga. “It’s an act of kindness.”

The governor reported 699 new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the statewide total to 181,660. New Jersey’s coronavirus death toll rose by 10, totaling 13,944.

Murphy said the latest data showed no in-hospital deaths over a 24 hour period for the first time since March 10.

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The news that cases are spiking makes local business owners fear the worst.

Diners were enjoying Friday night under the stars on the rooftop terrace at Biagio’s Ristorante in Paramus.

For co-owner Tommy Perides, it’s good to be open, but now he worries it may not last.

“It’s the fear of going back to the way it was in March, where everything shut down,” he told CBS2’s Nick Caloway.

Perides was hoping to have indoor dining weeks ago, but the surge in cases is standing firmly in the way of that.

The house parties and clusters are irking small business owners whose livelihoods are on the line.

“It’s disappointing to see just a bunch of kids not taking any responsibility for themselves, for their family and for whoever they might be associated with,” Perides said.

Steve Goodman owns Mr. Geez Bistro in Lyndhurst.

“Gets me angry when so many real business people and regular people are trying to beat this thing and do the right stuff, and it’s just a few crazy people,” he said.

Goodman opened just seven months before the pandemic and says the business won’t survive another shutdown, so he’s pleading with people to take this seriously.

“This is not brain surgery. We can figure this out, but we have to do it together,” he said.

There was some good news reported Friday. New Jersey remains among the top 10 states nationwide with the lowest number of active cases per capita.

Comments (24)
  1. Mark Dimperio says:

    Danger Will Robinson!

    1. Dementia_Joe_Biden says:

      Comrade Murphy has spoken. The man who killed Nursing home residents by forcing them to take in covid-19 patients is now pretending there’s a new crisis. His goal? The election of Dementia Joe, the Proxy president.

  2. Jim says:

    I feel like I’m living behind the Iron Curtain. All these Governors have to do is “claim” a state of emergency, and then control your life. I hope he gets run out of office next election cycle.

  3. jnobfan says:

    Murphy will figure out how to raise taxes on this somehow its his go to move

  4. david lamb says:

    Considering the average flu transmission rate is ~1.5-2.5 a 1.35 transmission rate is not bad at all.

    Fearmongering. That’s all this is. Yes, it’s a real disease. No, it’s not a death sentence to get it.

    1. jnobfan says:

      It can be bad even for a healthy young person but shutting down our economy and borrowing Trillions of dollars for a 1% death rate is IMO criminal

  5. Toby Richards says:

    How can the governor limit indoor activity to 100 or less (or 25%), keep movie theaters and other businesses closed (all except for the big corporations) and then say schools must be open…bringing hundreds together and in some cases thousands? Seems like another mixed message from the man who was out marching against his own order. Then rescinded that restriction when he broke his own rule. He should stop playing politics and make a decision based on the CDC and safety and let us know sooner, rather than later.

  6. Phil says:

    dictator asshole murphy.. wish businesses and people would stand up to htis dictator asshole..

  7. ReitzTheMoron says:

    Barbara Reitz – you are an |di0t. That is all.

    1. Toxic_dictator_murphy says:

      Murphy is an evil man who bases his decisions on politics, not science. November 3rd, all of this will stop. Problem is NJ is so full of mental defectives, they believe and do anything he says. He could get re-elected today. Critical thinking is NOT New Jersey’s strong suit.

  8. Barbara Reitz says:

    Oh, but they could pass it to someone who could easily die….. oh you mean like old people in nursing homes….like the ones YOU exposed to Covid??

  9. Barbara Reitz says:

    6 teenagers….. you’d think it was 600 from the way he was talking.

  10. Barbara Reitz says:

    We need to put him on notice.

  11. Barbara Reitz says:

    Murphy has no skin in the game. He owns 3 house and is worth over 50 million. NJ leads the country in Covid deaths thanks to him. His whole game is to inflict as much economic suffering
    as possible on the everyone till the election. This isn’t about your health anymore. The shutdown was originally done not to overwhelm the hospitals. The day has come and gone. Oh, but his buddies who have Casinos are open and I bet he won’t shut them down again…. too much re-election donations.

  12. Barbara Reitz says:

    Yeah, we’re in a dangerous place…. maybe you shouldn’t have put covid patients in with nursing homes.
    No more shutdowns! If Murphy uses this as an excuse to shut down again…. take him to court.
    No hospital deaths in 24 hours…. that’s all that really counts. But you watch… this sadistic tyrant will use anything to move the goal post. We know what he’s doing.

  13. Barbara Reitz says:

    Stop testing.

  14. Barbara Reitz says:

    Wake me up when, someone actually has symptoms.

  15. Gary Davidson says:

    You Covid deniers should be ones out digging graves for the fallen – would undoubtedly change your viewpoints – especially if the grave you’re digging is for someone you care about…

  16. Dan Hansell says:

    “I’m not announcing any specific action today, but consider this as being put on notice,”

    Note how these blue state tyrants speak to their employer. You’d think the ppl of NJ work for him

  17. das says:

    DNC called him and said we have to slow the economy or big 3rd quarter coming. I wonder how many democrats governors were promised a shot at democrat Presidential nomination in the future if they close there state economy down and allow riots and looting?

    1. Jerry Cote says:

      Goes so far beyond that. Murphy and the other Dems ARE trying to wreck the state and get Biden elected, as he’ll take the whole nation cashless. The new hyper-fiat crypto will have no standards, just wide-open government inflating in leaps and bounds. These flat-broke blue state governors are expecting the fiat trillions to wipe away their problems. In fact, it’s the only hope they have. They know the tax hikes they’d need otherwise would put them tarred and feathered on a railcar

  18. luis says:

    More NAZI-style restrictions coming, Governor Goering?

    1. Rich T says:

      I’m guessing you zero about Hermann Göring or the Nazi Party. If you did, you’d know exactly how ignorant and uneducated you sound.

      1. JerryM says:

        Hate much? He’s is, it’s right on point. Murf the Surf is tripping with power

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