“We are going to continue to tighten the screws further,” Gov. Phil Murphy said today in regards to more aggressive social distancing measures to combat COVID-19. “You can expect to hear more about that [in the next 24 hours]. We have no choice.”
Murphy gave his daily coronavirus task-force briefing at the state’s new mass testing center at Bergen Community College. He said that 600 people were successfully tested today at the new center, adding that 350 more tests will be administered at the site tomorrow starting at 8 a.m.
Bergen Community College Testing Center
The testing center will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The center will receive 2,500 tests from FEMA, which will be replenished weekly.
To be eligible for testing, you must be a New Jersey resident and have a fever of at least 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit, a cough and shortness of breath.
Individuals are screened and then receive a nasal swab.
Results will be available within 2 to 5 days of being tested.
A second state testing site at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, is expected to open on Monday at 8 a.m. A third test site is also being discussed.
The statewide total of positive cases now stands at 890 with 11 fatalities.
Murphy added that partnerships with the private sector have additionally increased the availability of overall testing in the state. Testing is now being performed in the state by both LabCorp and BioReference Laboratories, enhancing general statewide testing capacity.
“Lab capacity is no longer an issue,” Murphy said. “Our focus can now shift to specimen collection statewide. … This is a game changer.”
Uninsured Fees Waived
Murphy also today required hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) to waive patient fees for testing and related diagnostic services for those who lack health insurance.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said hospitals will be able to submit claims for reimbursement to the charity care program, which provides subsidies to hospitals for care they provide to the uninsured. The FQHCs will be able to submit claims to the Uncompensated Care Fund.
$100 billion in Federal Aid to Region?
Murphy, along with the governors of New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania today urged the federal government to consider a fiscal stimulus in the form of a direct cash assistance program of at least $100 billion to provide an immediate financial infusion to all four states to help cover costs related to COVID-19 response operations.
The money is necessary to allow the states to continue implementing various assistance programs that aid both individuals and businesses.
“We need a lot more money to continue to do what we are doing,” Murphy said.
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