CAMDEN, NJ — Frustrated members of New Jersey’s congressional district wrote to Atlanta on Wednesday, as a week approaches since the Centers Disease Control (CDC) was said to deliver results on the state’s 29 presumed positive COVID-19 cases.
As of Thursday evening, six additional cases were reported and one person has died from the coronavirus. Gov. Phil Murphy has also declared a state of emergency.
“While we understand that the CDC is quite busy handling this crisis, it is important the states can confirm a positive or negative test result in order to contain a potentially further damaging outbreak in our communities,” the members wrote in the letter to CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield sent Wednesday.
The letter continued that with the “administration’s plan to distribute millions of test kits this week, we must ensure that the CDC can quickly and efficiently analyze test results. The gaps in testing we are currently experiencing hinder the nation’s ability to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
The democratic lawmakers — which included Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) and Donald Norcross (D-Camden) — said the lack of response has impeded their efforts on the ground.
“While we understand that the CDC is quite busy handling this crisis, it is important the states can confirm a positive or negative test result in order to contain a potentially further damaging outbreak in our communities,” reads another excerpt
The letter was also signed by U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), Albio Sires (NJ-8), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Andy Kim (NJ-3), Tom Malinowski (NJ-7), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), and U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (NJ) and Cory Booker (NJ).
During a state briefing Wednesday, Assistant Health Commissioner Chris Neuwirth said the CDC has, “not given us any results yet, nor have we received any explanation for the delay.”
In the letter, officials asked for an outline of the CDC’s plans to increase test capabilities nationwide.
The following inquiries were also made, “Is it still the policy that the CDC must do the confirmation check of a state’s presumptive positive diagnosis as a measure of quality control?” and “Is the CDC considering partnering with state, local, and commercial labs to allow them the capability to confirm test results for COVID-19?”
Murphy is scheduled to discuss the latest developments in a press briefing Friday.