More than two dozen lifeguards from two New Jersey beach towns have tested positive for the coronavirus after having been together socially, authorities said.
Officials said the lifeguards are from Harvey Cedars and Surf City, neighboring boroughs on Long Beach Island.
Mayor Jonathan Oldham of Harvey Cedars said island health officials alerted the borough to the cluster Thursday and the lifeguards were being quarantined until they are cleared by doctors. Long Beach Island’s health director told WHYY that the guards were apparently together at two “social gatherings” earlier this month.
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Harvey Cedars said Saturday that 17 lifeguards, all of whom had “attended a party in Surf City,” had tested positive for COVID-19. The island’s health director earlier said a dozen Surf City lifeguards had tested positive.
Harvey Cedars said on its website that it has 73 lifeguards and therefore “our beaches will remain fully staffed with all safety protocols in place.” Surf City said its beaches “will remain protected from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily” but “adjustments may be made from day to day to ensure the safety of all patrons and guards.”
New Jersey officials earlier announced more than 500 new positive COVID-19 cases and an additional 11 deaths confirmed as associated with the virus, bringing the total number of deaths associated with the virus in the state to 13,867.