By ERIN ROLL
New Jersey hit the 26,000 daily mark on COVID-19 testing on Wednesday, and with tests becoming available at local pharmacies, Gov. Phil Murphy is urging more New Jersey residents to go get tested.
“We’ve worked hard to get our testing program to where it is, and we’re going to keep working to make it even stronger,” Murphy said.
The state has touted more widespread testing as a key component of helping New Jersey to reopen, since more tests would provide more data on how the virus is being spread. In May, the state announced a goal to conduct at least 25,000 tests a day by the end of June, with special emphasis on health care providers, vulnerable populations, and those who have recently come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The test is being made available at chain pharmacies such as CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens, as well as big box stores like Walmart. As of Friday, there were a total of 208 test sites open to the public. “So this weekend, make a plan. Get tested. Do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for your community,” Murphy said.
In Essex County, there is a community testing site for county residents at Weequahic Park. Residents must make an appointment in order to receive testing there.
A complete list of testing locations is available at covid19.nj.gov/testing.
New Jersey reported 764 new cases on Saturday, down from 1,117 on Friday, bringing the state total to 159,608.
The state is also reporting 103 new deaths, down from 113 on Friday, bringing the state total to 11,634.
At 10 p.m. Friday, hospitals reported 2,626 patients, including 672 in critical care and 499 ventilators in use. Hospitals sent home 231 patients that day and admitted 150 new patients. By comparison, there were 2,707 patients in the hospital on Thursday, with 720 patients in critical care and 544 ventilators in use. Hospitals admitted 183 patients and sent home 234 patients that day.
As of 9 a.m. Saturday, Essex County was reporting 17,680 cases and 1,654 deaths, up from 16,561 cases and 1,649 deaths on Friday: 1,119 new cases and five new deaths.
Montclair reported 416 cases and 49 deaths as of Saturday, the same numbers as were reported Friday.