New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday that the two drive-thru testing sites operated with the federal government cannot yet begin taking asymptomatic residents yet as New Jersey passed 5,000 deaths from COVID-19 complications.
Murphy corrected a statement from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's office from earlier that said the testing for residents without symptoms would begin. Murphy said the state first needs to obtain a waiver from the federal government before such testing can begin.
New Jersey reported at least 5,063 coronavirus deaths and at least 95,865 positive COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday afternoon, Murphy said.
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The state operates the drive-through facilities with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
One is at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, Monmouth County. The other is at Bergen Community College in Paramus.
Beyond the two federally affiliated facilities, New Jersey has nearly 90 sites other testing centers across the state and conducts about 9,000 tests a day, according Murphy.
Murphy says he thinks the state needs to double the number of tests it does daily.
Murphy, a Democrat, has said the state would need to ramp up testing beyond just symptomatic people before reopening its economy.
'Come on, Man'
Murphy took aim at comments from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about pressing pause on federal money and floating the idea of letting states go bankrupt.
“Really? This is the time in a moment of crisis unlike any our country has face in at least 100 years to suggest it’s a good thing for states to go bankrupt?" Murphy said. “Come on, man. That is completely and utterly and irresponsible."
New Jersey's finances will take a significant hit from the virus, Murphy has said. He has also called for direct cash payments from the federal government. He said, though, the state wouldn't go bankrupt. Instead it would have to cut services deeply.
“We won’t go bankrupt, senator, but we will leave out citizens in the lurch at their most profound hour of need,” Murphy said.
A message seeking a response was left with McConnell's spokesman.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.