Coronavirus News: Newark, NJ opens appointment-only drive-thru COVID-19 testing site

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Essex County has opened an appointment-only drive-thru coronavirus testing site in Newark amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The site is for Essex County residents who are symptomatic and is located in Weequahic Park.

The site opened Thursday and will also be open Saturday, March 28, when 100 tests per day will be administered.

It will then be open next week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, when 150 tests per day will be administered each day.

Appointments are mandatory, and residents must arrive by car.

"The most effective way that elected officials and public health professionals can get a handle on how far reaching COVID-19 has become is to test residents for the virus," Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Freeholder President Brendan Gill and Vice President Wayne Richardson said in a joint statement. "These screenings are in high demand and we ask for the public's cooperation throughout this process. We encourage our residents to continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus and not place themselves in situations where they may be exposed."

The screenings are being offered to Essex County residents only who are symptomatic of COVID-19. This means anyone wishing to be tested musty meet specific testing criteria, which includes a fever of at least 99.6 degrees and respiratory symptoms of shortness of breath.

Appointments will be scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those who do not meet the criteria will not receive an appointment. If you are exhibiting severe symptoms, please contact your local health care provider or local health department for guidance.

Residents can visit EssexCOVID.org, where they will be required to complete a short online screening process before an appointment is scheduled.

Residents will be asked several health-related questions and detail any symptoms they have related to the coronavirus. Upon completion of the survey, they will be informed if they are eligible for the screening. If they are eligible, a confirmation number will be provided; residents must bring the confirmation number with them to their appointment.

If someone does not have internet access, they can register by calling the Essex County Office of Emergency Management at 973-324-9950. The call-in center will be open form 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. An operator will help them complete the initial survey and issue the confirmation number. Residents must bring the confirmation number with them to their appointment.

Tests are being offered free of charge to Essex County residents. Having health insurance is not a requirement. Follow up contact will be made to assess the continuing health of the person who completed the screening.

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