A new public testing site opened in Camden County near the Delaware River waterfront on Tuesday, and officials have high hopes that the location will provide a glimpse into how the coronavirus is spreading in local areas.
"If we don't have the data, we won't be able to know where the curve is," county Freeholder Jonathan Young said, referring to potential trends in the outbreak.
It is the third-worst hit state in the entire country, and the worst of the coronavirus pandemic could still be to come. State officials said on Wednesday that several medical centers in the hard-hit northern part of New Jersey are reaching capacity, meaning the surge of cases could already be getting underway.
That's what officials hope testing sites like the Camden County location can stave off, at least for as long as possible. U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, who represents New Jersey's 1st District in Congress, said he hopes South Jersey can avoid "getting caught off-guard."
Some New Jersey residents are already taking the fight against the coronavirus into their own hands. A Marlton man got an experimental drug from Taiwan, and a Camden medical student has enlisted volunteers in an effort to make thousands of homemade face masks.
The Camden County testing site is overseen by the county, but is being managed and staffed by medical staff from Cooper University and Virtua health systems. About 50 to 60 people can be tested a day currently.
It is located at Cooper's Poynt Park and open daily.