Start Planning For Small Holiday Gatherings, Murphy Says

Nicole Rosenthal
·3 min read

NEW JERSEY - Gov. Phil Murphy addressed the increase in indoor family gatherings amid cooler weather, deeming indoor events as potential “starting points for outbreaks".

“Sadly, we’re seeing more and more family gatherings as the sparks for these outbreaks,” Murphy said at a Thursday afternoon news conference. “Now is the time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and the broader holiday season, regardless of the holidays you celebrate. We do not want a Thanksgiving dinner to turn tragic because someone unwittingly exposed a large number of their family members to the coronavirus."

This week, the CDC listed small gatherings as an increasing source of COVID-19 spread, according to State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

"As the governor shared, the CDC Director [Robert] Redfield observed that when individuals are out in public, they appear to be more stringent in following precautions such as masking and social distancing than during household gatherings,"Persichilli said. "Last week, the CDC released a study of a family gathering where extended family members stayed in a house together for several weeks. That led to an outbreak."

The outbreak reportedly began with one adolescent infected with COVID-19. It eventually spread to 11 other family members, including the adolescent's mother, father and grandparents, according to the commissioner.

"This outbreak reminds us that, even when we are with family members, we must adhere to public health guidelines to keep our loved ones safe," Persichilli said.

The commissioner added additional guidance on holiday gatherings, including:

  • Hosting activities with only people from your local area

  • Limiting the number of attendees as much as possible

  • Hosting outdoor gatherings as much as possible

  • Staying at least six feet apart, wearing masks and practicing frequent hand washing

  • Providing or encouraging other attendees to bring supplies such as extra masks or hand sanitizer

In his remarks, Murphy noted that the latest spot positivity rate was at 4.35 percent and that the total number of COVID-19 positive cases was 216,994. There are 973 new cases and the rate of transmission is 1.16.

New Jersey reported 16,197 confirmed deaths since the pandemic began. Read more: NJ Coronavirus, Reopen Updates: Here's What You Need To Know

Murphy has issued Halloween rules and guidance for New Jersey amid the coronavirus crisis. Here's what that means. Read more: Gov. Murphy Issues NJ Halloween Rules, Guidance Amid Coronavirus

“We urge everyone to take stock of how many people you may be inviting to your Thanksgiving table. This is not the year to plan to visit out-of-state relatives or to invite them to New Jersey,” the governor said.

Murphy has expanded the quarantine travel advisory list to its biggest in weeks, now demanding any travelers from 38 states and territories to quarantine for two weeks after returning – even if their travel route started in New Jersey.

"As cases have increased within our own state and we work to contain clusters, it is vital to ensure that we are taking all steps necessary to stop the further spread of COVID-19 from out of state," Murphy said earlier this week. "It remains critically important for anyone arriving to New Jersey from these 38 states and territories to get tested for COVID-19 and self-quarantine for 14 days."

Here is the latest list:

  • Alabama

  • Alaska

  • Arkansas

  • Colorado

  • Delaware

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Guam

  • Idaho

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Iowa

  • Kansas

  • Kentucky

  • Louisiana

  • Michigan

  • Minnesota

  • Mississippi

  • Missouri

  • Montana

  • Nebraska

  • Nevada

  • New Mexico

  • North Carolina

  • North Dakota

  • Ohio

  • Oklahoma

  • Puerto Rico

  • Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

  • South Dakota

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Utah

  • Virginia

  • West Virginia

  • Wisconsin

  • Wyoming

Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items.
It is expected that individuals will follow the public health advisory to self-quarantine. The list of states will be updated on a rolling basis and is accessible here.

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This article originally appeared on the Holmdel-Hazlet Patch