TRENTON, NJ - Aiming to advance the testing of residents for Covid-19 in New Jersey, a bill that would authorize all licensed health care facilities and laboratories to collect specimens to test for COVID-19; allows waiver of staffing ratio requirements was approved by Senate on Thursday.

The General Assembly recently approved the legislation, 65-0. The measure now heads to Gov. Phil Murphy for his signature.

The sponsors, Assemblyman Herb Conaway, M.D. (D-Burlington), Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex) and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, R.N. (R-Morris, Somerset, Union) issued the following statements on their bill:

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“Increased testing is critical to gauging the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey,” said Conaway. “We need more tests available help residents and identify patients. We are in unprecedented times. We need to act swiftly to reduce the transfer of the virus and the effects of it our communities.”

“It’s crucial that we increase access to tests and consider the impacts that the coronavirus will have on our healthcare workers who are on our front lines every day,” said Muñoz. “Our medical facilities do not have the option to shut down like other businesses, so we must prepare for worker shortages and temporarily allow staffing ratios to be waived during a state of emergency.”

“We have a long road ahead of us,” said Benson. “This legislation strengthens the work being done on the front lines by our healthcare workers. More testing sites will help us help residents as we navigate our way through this unfortunate time.”