TRENTON, NJ — Two New Jersey FEMA sites will begin testing anyone for COVID-19 whether you're displaying symptoms or not, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday during the state’s daily press briefing.
The testing centers at Bergen Community College in Paramus and PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, will start administering the additional screenings starting Sunday and Monday respectively.
Murphy said onstage at the Trenton press briefing this afternoon that the sites, which make up 122 in the Garden State, are the only two so far welcoming asymptomatic patients.
“Expanding access to testing is one of our key principles for getting New Jersey firmly on the road back to restart and recovery," said Murphy. "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.”
Murphy implored anyone who is not displaying the symptoms typical for the virus to consult with their primary care doctor before visiting the sites — later adding that it was more “scout’s honor” than a requirement.
The expansion of testing is expected to yield an influx of new positive patients in a state that has already confirmed 135,454 cases and at least 8,952 deaths over two months into the outbreak.
“We ask asymptomatic individuals to try and contact a health care provider before seeking testing, as it is critical that testing is available for our front-line workers and vulnerable populations,” Murphy noted.
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who came back positive will also be prioritized.
During his daily address, the governor also announced the Restart and Recovery Advisory Council that will work with a commission named last week to unite leaders from an array of industries to consult leadership over how best to deal with economic hardships faced because of COVID-19.
It will be co-chaired by New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis, New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan, and Choose New Jersey President and CEO Jose Lozano.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every facet of life and every sector of our economy in some way,” Ellis said in a statement. “The work of this council will complement a group of higher education leaders who will consider the role of higher education in the state's restart and recovery efforts.”