UPDATE: New Jersey's first government-run drive-thru coronavirus testing site at Bergen Community College in Paramus closed after just four hours on Friday.
A flashing traffic sign noted the testing site was closed around noon -- four hours after opening and four hours before its 4 p.m. scheduled stop time -- as police turned cars away.
Gov. Phil Murphy begged the public’s patience.
“We’ve never done this before," the governor said Thursday. “Hopefully we’ll get this executed as smoothly as possible.”
New Jersey State Police in protective face masks directed the flow along Paramus Road, with two cars allowed in a time to a pair of white tents, where medical workers clad in face guards, gloves and body robes asked a series of questions before taking swabs.
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.
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There were more than 200 cases in Bergen County and more than 700 in New Jersey as of Thursday night.
By then, the U.S. National Guard had rolled into lots B and C to set up the site at BCC, 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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