PATERSON — U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-NJ, announced in a press release and on his social media accounts Thursday that he has COVID-19.

Pascrell, who turns 85 in January, said he is experiencing mild symptoms.

"Today I tested positive for COVID," Pascrell's statement said. "I am fully vaccinated and boostered. Blessedly my symptoms are mild. I am working from home and will closely monitor my health."

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Another member of New Jersey's Congressional delegation, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, previously announced a positive COVID test on Dec. 19, and also reported mild symptoms after receiving his initial vaccine series and a booster.

"Omicron spreads like wildfire and is no joke," Pascrell's statement continued. "If you haven't yet get off your butt and get vaccinated and get boostered: these shots are the only reason my case is luckily mild. Don't worry about me: get your shots!"

New Jersey easily shattered another daily record on Thursday, with the state's COVID dashboard reporting 27,975 newly confirmed cases via positive PCR test result, and another 7,387 probable cases from antigen testing.

Gov. Phil Murphy was scheduled to return Thursday from a Christmas vacation to Costa Rica, and is facing criticism from the New Jersey Republican Party for leaving the country while testing demand brought on by holiday gatherings, plus the rise of the omicron variant, have caused case numbers to spike to unprecedented levels in the state.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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