VIRUS UPDATE: HOLMDEL TEST SITE TO OPEN

Phil Murphy in Red Bank in 2017 during his run for governor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See update below]

By JOHN T. WARD

With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to climb, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced a plan to open drive-thru test site in Holmdel Monday.

Speaking at Bergen County Community College following the opening of the state’s first drive-thru test center on Friday, Murphy said the state’s caseload rose by 155 from Thursday, to 890, with two additional deaths.

The number of Monmouth County cases increased by 10, to 53, according to the New Jersey Health Department COVID-19 dashboard. More detailed locations, and patient ages, were not immediately reported.

[UPDATE, 4:30 p.m. Monmouth County officials reported Friday afternoon that “there are 55 positive cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County.” They include three in Little Silver, and none in either Fair Haven or Red Bank.]

Eleven state residents have died from the virus, Murphy said. According to News12, the latest victims were are a man in his 30s from Essex County, and a man in his 50s from Bergen County.

Statewide, as the availability of testing expands, the number of individuals testing positive will rise “into the many thousands,” Murphy said. In part, that will reflect growing availability of tests, he said.

At the Bergen test site, in Paramus, healthcare workers conducted 600 tests Friday of people who were referred by physicians or exhibited symptoms.

Hundreds of vehicles carrying patients hoping to be tested lined up outside the campus, with local and military police maintaining order, according to NorthJersey.com.

The operation reached capacity and closed at noon, Murphy said, with plans to do 350 more tests at the same site starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The second test site is slated to open Monday at 8 a.m. at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel. Murphy said people should not show up over the weekend in order to allow for set-up by state health workers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In order to be tested, patients must have New Jersey identification and present symptoms associated with the virus: fever, a cough or other respiratory symptoms, and shortness of breath.

Murphy also said he would be announcing additional social-distancing steps to help reduce the transmission of the virus and speed the end of the pandemic

Meanwhile, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has temporarily waived restrictions to allow health-care professionals licensed in other states to assist with mitigation efforts in New Jersey, especially in the area of telemedicine.