Coronavirus News: Testing for asymptomatic residents in New Jersey gets underway

PARAMUS, New Jersey (WABC) -- A new effort gets underway in New Jersey on Sunday that is designed to test as many people as possible for COVID-19 -- even if they haven't shown any symptoms.

The site in Paramus opened at 8 a.m. and is specifically for New Jersey residents who have not shown any symptoms during the pandemic.

Deaths and hospitalizations both in New Jersey and across the tri-state are declining after there have been half a million confirmed cases.

This kind of widespread testing will give authorities an idea of just how widespread the virus has been and is essential in getting the state up and running again so people can go back to work.

New Jersey began asymptomatic testing, as well as antibody testing, last week. Gov. Phil Murphy also announced Saturday that two Red Cross sites will open Monday as designated convalescent plasma sites.

The plasma treats seriously ill COVID patients by taking blood donations from those who have already recovered from the virus.

'We ask asymptomatic individuals to contact a healthcare provider to make sure that they agree that you should be going and getting a test and that is to keep the numbers down," Murphy said. "By building out our testing capacity, we can instill confidence among our residents that we are in front of the response at winning the fight against COVID-19."

The FDA-approved sites are at the American Red Cross blood center in Fairfield and at University Hospital in Newark. They have already seen encouraging results in 100 patients who have been treated.

Eligible individuals must be fully recovered from COVID-19 and free of symptoms as well as otherwise meeting regular eligibility criteria for blood donation.

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