PATERSON, NJ - Paterson became the first city in the region to offer rapid testing for the COVID-19 virus for homeless residents on Wednesday. According to a statement issued by Mayor Andre’s Sayegh’s office the Point of Care for the Homeless initiative was launched at Eva’s Village by The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) in collaboration with the Paterson Division of Health and the Passaic County Department of Health.

Saying that persons experiencing homelessness are vulnerable to contacting COVID-19, the  statement added that the pilot program conducted by NJDOH will explore how to implement a statewide strategy on testing for the homeless population. According to officials Paterson was selected for the pilot program both because of the large population of, and existing local infrastructure, as well as public health leadership, to serve, the homeless.

“The City of Paterson has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and it is our priority to make sure that everyone gets tested,” said Mayor Andre Sayegh. “We are elated that the New Jersey Department of Health has chosen Paterson as its first location for the pilot program. With every test conducted and with the work of our contact tracing team we are closer to becoming a COVID free city.”

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Twenty-three individuals were tested, and within 15 minutes received results with all coming back negative.

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