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Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli at today’s debriefing.

BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

With a focus on the goal of universal testing for all New Jersey residents, state officials announced today a partnership with Walmart and Quest diagnostic to begin testing residents for COVID-19 beginning Friday, May 22. They join 8,000 pharmacies across New Jersey who will be offering the self-swab tests through drive-through only. Yesterday Gov. Phil Murphy announced that 50 CVS pharmacies statewide will offer self-swab tests without prescriptions through their drive-throughs as well. 

Testing will take place at the Walmart locations in Garfield, Kearny, North Bergen, Flemington, Burlington, Howell and Mt. Laurel by appointment only, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Appointments can be made through Quest. 

TODAY’S NUMBERS

Officials reported 1,670 new positive COVID-19 cases, an increase from the 1,055 reported yesterday. Positive cases to date now number 150,399. Today’s reporting showed an uptick in the positivity rate of tests, from 12 percent yesterday to 18 percent today. The numbers represent tests taken on Saturday, and Murphy said the rise could be attributed to weekend batching.

New deaths numbered 168 today, slightly up from 162 reported yesterday and almost doubling from Monday’s reporting of 83. Deaths now total 10,747.

Hospitalizations decreased from 3,481 Monday to 3,405 last night, about half of the hospitalizations reported four weeks ago. Fewer people are in the ICU at 969, down from the 977 reported on Monday, and fewer patients are on ventilators at 750, down from 789. 

New hospitalizations increased to 261 on Tuesday, up from 173 on Monday, while discharged patients likewise rose to 282 on Tuesday, compared to 161 on Monday. 

Essex County officials reported 208 new cases, an increase of the 28 cases reported yesterday, for a total of 16,952. The county reported only five new deaths, down from the 16 deaths reported yesterday, with the death toll now rising to 1,571.

As of Tuesday the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in Montclair increased from 403 to 406; the number of individuals who did not survive the illness remains at 47. Wednesday’s numbers were not yet made available as of 4 p.m.

SCAMS

State officials warned residents about a COVID-19 scam, in which a person poses as a contact tracer and texts or emails the person, contending they have been exposed to the virus, and asks for the person’s social security number, bank account or insurance number. 

Officials warn that a contact tracer will never ask for personal account information and will reach out by phone.

SNAP CAN BE USED TO SHOP ONLINE

New Jerseyans enrolled in the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will now be able to use their benefits to order groceries online starting next week. Online shopping will be available through Amazon and participating Walmarts, ShopRites and The Fresh Grocers.

New Jersey SNAP recipients will be able to use their benefits card to order groceries from Amazon starting on May 27, while Walmarts, ShopRites and The Fresh Grocers that provide online shopping will also accept online ordering with SNAP benefits starting on May 28.

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