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News

NJ Coronavirus Testing Site In Paramus Closes After Only Four Hours

At the BCC coronavirus testing center in Paramus.
At the BCC coronavirus testing center in Paramus. Photo Credit: Special to DAILY VOICE

New Jersey's first major coronavirus testing site closed after only four hours on Friday.

On Saturday, the site closed within minutes.

A Daily Voice reader who got to the site at 9:30 a.m. waited in line until 1:30 p.m. to be tested, he said.

Traffic quickly backed up for miles on Paramus road after the testing site in Bergen Community College parking lots opened at 8 a.m. It was originally scheduled to remain open until 4 p.m.

Just after noon, however, a flashing sign on West Century Road alerted motorist that testing was at capacity.

A police officer announced on a loud speaker that testing was done for the day and people could return at 8 a.m. Saturday.

New Jersey State Police in protective face masks had been directing the traffic flow along Paramus Road.

Three cars at a time were allowed in three, separate lanes going into white tents, where medical workers clad in face guards, gloves and body robes asked a series of questions before taking swabs. The tests take about three minutes each to perform.

Federal, state and local officials anticipate the number of positive COVID-19 cases to skyrocket now that there's public testing.

The Paramus site -- open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week -- can collect 2,500 specimens a week before kits will be replenished.

Authorities emphasized that you must exhibit symptoms -- a fever of 99.6 degrees or above, shortness of breath and a cough – in order to be tested. You don’t need a doctor’s note but having one helps.

Anyone not showing symptoms gets turned away, officials said.

“The worried well should not be coming,” State Police Supt. Col. Patrick Callahan said, adding that someone who is only worried puts the truly infected at risk.

Testing is free. The federal government or your personal insurance company will cover it. You must bring identification that proves you are a New Jersey resident. You also should bring an insurance card if you have one.

It will take two to five days to get test results.

The U.S. National Guard rolled into lots B and C Thursday to set up the site at 400 Paramus Road in Paramus. FEMA Region II, the state Department of Health, the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey National Guard are operating the sites.

FEMA supplied 2,500 tests for the Paramus site and for another state site being planned for the PNC Bank Center in Holmdel. The test kits will be replenished each week.

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