Gov. Murphy urges NJ residents to cooperate with COVID-19 contact tracers

New Jersey COVID-19 live updates, news and information
TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Gov. Phil Murphy is urging New Jersey residents to cooperate with contact tracers amid the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases.

During a news conference on Monday, Murphy said the rate of non-cooperation with COVID-19 contact tracers is up to a "whopping" 74% of cases.

"Remember, our contact tracers are not on a witch hunt," Murphy said. "We urge you, please work with our contact tracers and do your part to end this pandemic."

Murphy said there are now 30 contact tracers per 100,000 New Jersey residents.

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Gov. Phil Murphy is urging New Jersey residents to cooperate with contact tracers amid the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases.



The governor also urged state residents to download the COVID Alert NJ app to aid in the contact tracing effort.

Another 3,573 COVID-19 cases were reported Monday, bringing the statewide total to 371,579.

Meanwhile, 17 new deaths were reported, bringing the toll to 15,550.



Governor Murphy announced positive news on the vaccine front during Monday's press conference, estimating 300,000 to 500,000 doses of the vaccine will arrive in New Jersey this month.

"We're now talking about a matter of days before we get our first shipment," said Murphy.

WARNING FOR PEOPLE TESTED AT VENTNOR LAB



The FBI is asking anyone who received a rapid finger-prick coronavirus test Infinity Diagnostic Laboratory in Ventnor, NJ to get immediately retested and contact the FBI victims' services unit.

"As stated on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's website, "rapid" finger-prick blood tests for COVID-19 are antibody tests and should not be used for diagnosing active cases of COVID-19. Only a test that uses a nasal swab or saliva should be used to diagnose active cases of COVID-19.

If you were recently tested for COVID-19 at Infinity Diagnostic Laboratory, located at 6715 Atlantic Avenue, Ventnor, N.J., you are urged to be retested as soon as possible.

Also, if you were tested using a finger prick blood test at that location, please contact the FBI at NK-Victim-Assistance@FBI.gov.

Your response is voluntary but would be useful in a federal investigation. Based on the response provided, you may be contacted by the FBI and asked to provide additional information.

"It's terrible what they did," said a Ventnor woman who did not want to share her identity.

She says she got a finger prick test at The Infinity Diagnostic Laboratory and paid $75 in cash, thinking she was getting tested for the virus. Instead, those tests only show the presence or absence of COVID-19 antibodies.

"I'm gonna call the FBI when I leave here," said the woman.

The business along Atlantic Avenue was shuttered on Monday. The FBI has not announced any charges against any parties.

NEW OUTDOOR GATHERING LIMIT BEGINS



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New restriction in New Jersey limits outdoor gatherings to 25 people.



A new outdoor gathering limit goes into effect in New Jersey on Monday starting at 6 a.m.

The gathering limit drops from 150 people to 25 people.

"As we battle the second wave of COVID-19, we must continue to take all steps necessary to prevent needless infections, hospitalizations, and deaths from this deadly virus," said Governor Murphy. "While there is hope on the horizon in the form of several vaccines, in the interim, we are taking these steps today to protect our communities. It is our intention for indoor sports to resume in the new year, but this can only happen if our state remains committed to the fight against COVID-19."

Wedding ceremonies, funerals, memorial services, and religious and political activities are not subject to the outdoor gatherings limit. All other types of gatherings, such as a high school football game or an outdoor concert, will be limited to 25 individuals.

Athletes, coaches, referees and other individuals necessary for a professional or collegiate sports competition are not counted towards the 25-person limit.

On Saturday, Murphy paused indoor practices and competitions for youth and adult sports.

Murphy has tightened restrictions on indoor gatherings recently in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Indoor dining is restricted to 25% of a restaurant's capacity, and no indoor dining is allowed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, with exceptions for events such as religious ceremonies.

Travelers from out of state are urged to quarantine for 14 days, but Murphy has said the state is relying on the honor system for compliance.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said in a statement that the indoor youth sports order would affect only the start of high school ice hockey.

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP SWITCHES PLANS



All schools in the Washington Township School District in Gloucester County are switching to all remote learning.

That will remain in effect until January 11.

The decision was made after 41 new cases in Washington Township were reported Sunday alone.

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Remoting learning in Washington Township, New Jersey


Action News has learned that all schools in the Washington Township School District in Gloucester County are switching to all remote learning. This will remain in effect through January 11.

The decision was made after 41 new cases in Washington Township were reported on just December 6 alone.

Full pause on New Jersey indoor youth, adult sports begins Saturday


All indoor youth and adults sports in New Jersey are now suspended because of the climbing COVID-19 caseload. The pause began at 6 a.m. Saturday and goes until Jan. 2

Governor Murphy calls Rep. Matt Gaetz 'putz' after NY Young Republican gala held in Jersey City


Governor Phil Murphy is blasting the New York Young Republican Club, which held their annual event at Maritime Parc in Jersey City.
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The governor said Rep. Gaetz is not welcome in New Jersey.



New Jersey moves on from Tri-State Travel Advisory


New Jersey announced Wednesday it is leaving what was formerly known as the Tri-State Travel Advisory. "As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate throughout our nation, New Jersey will no longer utilize previously outlined metrics to inform its travel advisory," Governor Phil Murphy said.

Hospitalizations on the rise


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As COVID Numbers rise throughout New Jersey, hospitals have seen an uptick in patients who can't fight the virus at home over the past month.


As COVID numbers rise throughout New Jersey, hospitals have seen an uptick in patients who can't fight the virus at home over the past month.

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Couple gives back to delivery workers after COVID-19 cancels their wedding



A couple in Chicago is making spirits bright despite the pandemic canceling their wedding.

Biden predicts 'bleak future' if Congress doesn't act on COVID-19 economic stimulus


President-elect Joe Biden is predicting a "bleak future" if Congress doesn't take speedy action on a coronavirus aid bill amid a nationwide spike in the virus that's hampering the country's economic recovery.

UK defends COVID vaccine decision amid criticism it moved too fast


U.K. regulators went on the offensive Friday to beat back criticism that they rushed their authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, saying they rigorously analyzed data on safety and effectiveness in the shortest time possible without compromising the thoroughness of their review.

COVID-19 RESOURCES


How to properly wash your hands
Which masks protect those around you best?
What to do if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms
Coronavirus testing near me

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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