CAMDEN, NJ — In the coming weeks testing for the novel coronavirus will expand in the city of Camden, where the caseload reached 750 on Monday — the most of any in the county.
The new walk/drive-up testing centers will replace the existing site at Cooper's Poynt Waterfront Park. The waterfront site will close its operations May 1 at 3 p.m., after processing over 1,600 patients.
"Every day of this pandemic is a learning experience,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli. “We believe that adding new locations will not only expand testing capability, but also improve access for residents of Camden County."
Camden County reported five new deaths linked to the COVID-19 on Monday (at least 123 total) and 165 new positive cases (2,827).
The two sites, one in the south and another in the east part of the city, were made in partnership between the county, Virtua Health and Cooper University Hospital.
The first, located at 2600 Mount Ephraim Avenue in South Camden, will open at the Camden Division of Motor Vehicles parking lot Wednesday. Virtua will run the site from Noon to 4 p.m Monday to Friday.
Cooper will run the second site at 3101 Federal St. at Dudley Grange Park starting May 5. It will be open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hours of operations at the sites are subject to change after the first week based on patient demand, county officials said.
“We recognize [that] changing the geography of the sites will allow us to serve more residents and increase our capacity," Cappelli said. "In addition, by opening two locations, we can better serve other neighborhoods in the city for individuals who don’t have access to a vehicle.”
Long-term care centers continue to be a hot spot for cases in the area, with at least 83 deaths and 519 cases of the total results so far.
“We believe today’s spike in cases to be largely attributable to expanded testing taking place in long-term care facilities. However, this underscores why we must remain vigilant in this fight," said Cappelli. "The past week has shown real progress as we battle to flatten the curve, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that this virus has an unprecedented ability to spread through interpersonal contact. We must continue to stay home and to social distance until it is safe to relax these restrictions.”
Anyone interested in accessing the sites should have a referral from a medical provider. To make an appointment at a testing site in Camden County call (856) 968-7100 or (856) 342-2881 (Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).