NJ First Lady Tammy Murphy tests positive amid omicron COVID wave
First Lady Tammy Murphy on Sunday joined "likely" break through cases confirmed during the omicron wave of COVID, as the continued pandemic prompted a third Walmart store in the state to temporarily close.
Murphy received a positive result on a rapid antigen test Sunday afternoon, according to the governor’s office, though she remained asymptomatic.
Gov. Phil Murphy and the rest of their immediate family had so far tested negative, and would continue to test regularly in the coming days.
The governor and first lady both are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID, having received their most recent doses alongside three of their children in late November in Monmouth County.
The Murphys had taken rapid tests due to a “recent known, non-family contact in their home,” according to a written release, which did not give further information about when the known exposure had taken place.
The family had been out of state for the Christmas holiday, vacationing in Costa Rica until Thursday.
On Friday afternoon, the governor toured the federal COVID testing clinic in East Orange, which first opened to the public on Saturday.
As he is vaccinated and boosted, Murphy is not required to quarantine per CDC guidance, but he would continue to wear a mask in all public settings, the statement said.
Monday’s regularly scheduled state COVID-19 briefing would shift to a virtual format and stream online.
Required procedures for reporting, case investigation and contact tracing had been followed.
On Sunday, the state confirmed 24,710 new cases and 2,689 likely cases, based on PCR and rapid test results, respectively.
A day earlier, the state confirmed 28,635 new cases and 5,361 likely cases, based on test results for New Year's Day.
There also were 4,280 COVID patients hospitalized as of Saturday, including 595 in intensive care units statewide. Hospital data has been running a day behind for the past several weeks at least, on the state COVID dashboard.
Another store temporarily closes
On Monday, the Walmart location in Manville at 100 North Main Street closed its doors to allow for a deep-cleaning of the store, a spokesperson said in a written statement.
That follows similar, temporary closures of Walmart stores in Linden and Kearny last week.
“Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and the thousands of customers we serve daily, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and health experts,” the statement continued.
The store also would be following CDC guidance for indoor mask wearing, regardless of vaccination status, “in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission.”
That includes the entire state, based on CDC data, as of Sunday.