May 08, 2020
COVID-19 tests will soon be available to New Jersey residents who are not displaying symptoms of the coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday.
Asymptomatic people will be able to get tested at two of the state's primary diagnostic sites, both in North Jersey. Asymptomatic testing will begin at the Bergen Community College site in Paramus on Sunday at 8 a.m. It will be available Monday at the PNC Bank Arts Center site in Holmdel.
Health care workers, first responders and people who work in congregate living settings will be prioritized. So will any residents who have come in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Anyone who gets tested is still recommended to speak to a health care provider before heading to a testing site.
"Expanding access to testing is one of our key principles for getting New Jersey firmly on the road back to restart and recovery," Murphy said. “By building out our testing capacity, we can instill confidence among our residents that we are in front of the response and winning the fight against COVID-19.”
When the sites opened in late March, they quickly became packed with people seeking testing. At the time, people who did not have coronavirus-like symptoms were being turned away. But Murphy said demand has diminished at the sites recently.
There are 122 operating coronavirus testing centers in New Jersey. More information on them is available here.
Murphy also announced he was signing an executive order forming a commission tasked with organizing the state's reopening efforts. The Restart and Recovery Commission will include various industry, community and religious leaders to help advise state officials.
"This group will not only help us gather the local intelligence we need to get our economy running again," Murphy said. "But it also will help us create the framework for coping with our new longterm economic realities.”
The makeshift hospital at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, Hudson County, is closing, Murphy said.
The center admitted 268 coronavirus patients and has discharged 251. Murphy said the site's remaining medical supplies will be rapidly deployed, as needed.
Murphy announced 1,985 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the state's total to 135,454. There were another 162 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 8,952. The new deaths included the first child – a four-year-old who had an underlying health condition.