MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork)Coronavirus cases are on the rise in one part of New Jersey.

Youth sports are only allowed to hold practices, but a local lawmaker is concerned that’s a source of the spread.

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As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reports, signs make it clear masks are required and parents and spectators are not allowed inside. But health officials say 13 hockey players who practice at the Ice World Middletown sports complex recently tested positive for COVID-19.

“Thirteen is a lot out of one location,” said Middletown Township Administrator Tony Mercantante. “They’re all in that 16-19 youth hockey age group… We’ve met with them. We had them close the facility for a couple days to do some cleaning.”

Sources say some of the players were from out of state and even out of the country.


In Middletown, the Township Administrator says more than half of people are not cooperating with contact tracers. They are part of 238 new positive cases reported in all of Monmouth County last week, and about half of those in people under the age of 25.

The Monmouth County Freeholder Director told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner by phone these new cases are also stemming from outdoor gatherings, including Labor Day weekend.

“We’re having situations with young people that are, quite frankly, they’re invincible. They’re not even getting a chill. They could be going home, passing it onto their parents,” Thomas Arnone said.

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Gov. Phil Murphy addressed community spread there Monday.

“Tracking down gathering to worship is another potential source. Services of kinds… whether it’s funerals, weddings inside,” Murphy said.

St. Sen. Declan O’Scanlon says it’s important to note restaurants and retail have not been cited as a location of spread, a reason to increase capacity at those facilities. As for new cases by young people, he says his daughter plays hockey at Ice World.

“I’m not panicking, and none of us should panic,” he said. “It’s going to happen here and there. It doesn’t mean it’s going to lead to a massive increase.”

But it’s unclear when New Jersey will allow youth sports games to restart.

Representatives for Ice World did not get back to CBS2 for this story.

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