Local Traffic Impacts for Monday Morning Near Arts Center on Crawford's Corner Road.
HOLMDEL, NJ - The nation is in a Virus War right now and in Holmdel, local legislators lobbied to hosting a regional FEMA Regional COVID-19 Virus Testing Center at PNC Bank Arts Center, starting this Monday at 8AM.
According to former Holmdel Mayor and current Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, she lobbied FEMA with Senator Declan O'Scanlon to open up the famed PNC Bank Arts Center (formerly Garden State Arts Center) in Holmdel as a FEMA Regional COVID-19 Virus Testing Center.
Earlier this past week, DiMaso and O'Scanlon spent time on the grounds of the PNC Bank Arts Center to meet and greet with everyone doing the work. According to their joint press release, this included the New Jersey State Police, FEMA, Department of Health, the Army Corps of Engineers and the site and construction managers for PNC.
"We want to assure all of our residents that we are making progress and have secured FEMA and state commitment to have a top-notch, high volume testing site in Monmouth County." stated DiMaso and O'Scanlon.
Based on the massive turnout at the Bergen County COVID-19 Virus Testing Center, the impact will be immediate. Massive traffic is likely as sick and potentially sick visitors from around the state come to Holmdel.
Within four hours of opening, the Bergen County location was at full capacity. Three miles of bumper to bumper traffic. The lines were so full that sick people also parked anywhere they could.
As a suburban area with limited tolerance for heavy regional traffic, there will be a forced adjustment. For Holmdel's Mayor, the news was a shock. He said he wasn't aware of it.
Mayor Greg Buontempo said the Township was "never consulted" with on the decision. His lack of awareness was broadcast in recorded robocalls and emails sent to homeowners. After being consulted, Buontempo stated that Holmdel residents should "expect at most a few hundred vehicles per day, and it will be pre-registration only." However, it is called a Testing Center and other sources indicated that validated I'll visitors will be tested.
So, in an effort to reduce traffic impacts, Holmdel will shut down the parkway entrance in both directions at Crawfords Corner Road. This may help ease traffic, unless sick folks park on local streets. That is what occurred in Bergen County.
Walkers to the Holmdel site will likely not be tested as it's designed for vehicle traffic due to proximity to the Garden State Parkway (Exit 116).
Legislators now concerned
The potential of duplicating the traffic and congestion from Bergen County was evident in a press release on Friday. O'Scanlon and Dimaso are now telling people not to come unless they have 'substantial symptoms'. It isn't clear what substantial means.
Said O’Scanlon. “The lines are likely to be huge, and we have to make sure that the folks we are testing are those that really need it. If you show up without checking the news and verifying that you qualify to be tested, you could wait in line for hours only to be turned away. If you have to exaggerate your symptoms to qualify, don’t do that!”
Governor Murphy announced in a press conference today that the testing site at Bergen Community College had tested 600 people before 2pm. News articles also displayed a line 3 miles long prior to its opening at 8am this morning.
“What we can’t have is hundreds of the worried well lining up outside this center, we already know the demand and line for this site will be overwhelming. With the typical flu and allergy season among us, we need to ensure that people who suspect they have allergies or a cold are not attempting to be tested when our supplies are currently limited. We understand that people are concerned, but we need to prioritize resources, and that includes the limited number of healthcare workers we have." stated DiMaso.
The reality is that people aren't doctors and are likely to go get tested rather than guess. In order to be tested at PNC, residents would need to present a valid NJ ID and be showing respiratory symptoms and fever.
“Unless you would go to a doctor under normal conditions, don’t go now. What we are really asking is for the individuals who believe they are sick but don’t need immediate medical attention to stay home, stay away from other people, rest and heal. The priority at this point is the very sick, and I’m sorry to say that the sniffles won’t cut it here.” O’Scanlon concluded.
Holmdel is embarking on a new leg of the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday. It starts at 8AM. If you are planning to go locally, take the parkway and use Exit 116. Crawfords Corner Road will be closed to traffic and walkers will possibly be turned away.
BELOW IS THE ORIGINAL UNEDITED PRESS RELEASE FROM O'SCANLON & DIMASO: