Coronavirus News: NJ wants testing sites for people without symptoms, but needs permission first

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Thursday, April 23, 2020
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PARAMUS, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey will continue to only test those who show symptoms of coronavirus - not people who are asymptomatic because the state needs a federal waiver first.

Several cars lined up at the testing site at Bergen Community College in Paramus before dawn on Thursday, but the state is working to correct incorrect information put out about this location and another earlier this week.

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Medical Services said they would begin testing those without symptoms at the state sites in Bergen and at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, Monmouth County.

However, the state is unable to change the scope of who they are testing unless they get permission from the United States Department of Health and Human Services first.

"We actually need a federal HHS waiver. Because FEMA is our partner. We may have given the impression that it was innocently not what the facts are," Gov. Phil Murphy said. "The entire testing regime, with an eye down the road toward what it being needs to look like for reopening is something we are reviewing from top to bottom."

So, the testing centers in Bergen and Monmouth are still just for those with symptoms.

The Bergen Community College location is open Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Friday as they try to reach 500 test a day.

Beyond the two federally affiliated facilities, New Jersey has nearly 90 sites other testing centers across the state and conducts about 9,000 tests a day, according Murphy.

Murphy says he thinks the state needs to double the number of tests it does daily.



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