NEWARK, NJ — The city’s federally qualified health care center (FQHC) is now able to test for the coronavirus — albeit under strict guidelines designed to keep “worried well” from inundating the facility and using up the precious few tests available in the city.
Newark had 66 positive COVID-19 cases as of Monday while the state’s total jumped to 2,844. Over the weekend, Mayor Ras Baraka declared a shelter-in-place order for three areas in Newark that goes beyond Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order 107 signed on Saturday, despite a second state order stating that municipalities and counties may not make additional restrictions outside what the state has already mandated.
The shelter-in-place order states residents in the “hotspots” the city has identified should stock up on groceries and supplies for two months and stay inside unless there is an emergency or there is an essential worker who must leave their home.
“If we have a moment where the whole city has to do the same thing those three areas are doing now, we will, and we will let you know here on Facebook live. If the numbers continue to grow, that is something we will consider doing, so I would be prepared for that in the city of Newark, if I were you,” Baraka said on Facebook live on Monday.
Newark Community Health Centers, the city’s FQHC, will provide tests to those who follow a set of steps provided by the center. Residents must first contact their primary health care providers and obtain a referral, and then call Newark Community Health Centers to receive a location where they can be tested.
“This does not mean you should walk up to the health care center. If you do that, you may not get service,” Baraka said on Monday. “We do not have an unlimited number of tests. The city has tests, the hospitals have tests, different people have tests, there are not enough. In fact, our health care institutions are running out of tests.”
He called upon the city’s businesses and corporations, particularly those who have N-95 grade masks and sanitary gloves, to donate to the city’s medical facilities as well as the city to prepare for the incoming surge, which a ProPublica and Harvard analysis put at 101,000 patients over a 12-month period. Baraka also called upon businesses that are operating to donate to help thousands of residents who will lose income as a result of social distancing measures.