TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Continuing to tie expanded testing to reopening the state for business, New Jersey’s governor announced a broad increase in the number of locations where people can get tested for COVID-19, along with plans to offer do-it-yourself swabbing kits by the end of the month.
Based on testing numbers already known, the state will allow in-person sales at car and motorcycle dealerships in addition to bicycle shops starting at 6 a.m. on Wednesday.
“We know this is an important step for dealerships and for people who need access to transportation, and it is unquestionably another step forward on our road back with these announcements,” said Gov. Phil Murphy during Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing.
Relaxing previous restrictions, New Jersey will now allow 18,000 licensed pharmacists across 2,200 pharmacies to give FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 tests to their customers.
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“These pharmacies are run by professionals who have a deep well of trust, and a strong connection with their broader communities,” said Murphy. “These are the places where customers and residents may feel most comfortable to receive a COVID-19 test in a place they trust from a pharmacist they know.”
The state will soon also work with the CVS Pharmacy chain to offer self-swab tests at 50 or more New Jersey locations by June 1.
Murphy also announced restrictions would be relaxed for people seeking elective and non-urgent medical and dental procedures beginning next Tuesday, provided patients and doctors following familiar safety precautions, including:
- Prioritization of procedures.
- Heightened sanitation and disinfection standards.
- Ensuring patients are scheduled to minimize interpersonal contact.
- Ensuring social distancing in the lead up to the procedure.
- Wearing of face coverings or masks during certain procedures.
- Using heightened protections for procedures with direct contact with the eyes or mouth.
Murphy said patients currently being treated in hospitals due to coronavirus-related illness is down to 3,481 as the “long tail” from spikes decreases.
State officials also gave a correction to the number of people who have died from coronavirus while in nursing homes in order to match the methodology behind the statewide numbers.
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Murphy said 1,400 previously reported deaths could not be confirmed as related to COVID-19 illness, resulting in a new nursing home toll of 4,295 confirmed deaths.
In the past 24 hours, New Jersey saw 162 new confirmed deaths linked to COVID-19, bring the state’s total during the outbreak to 10,586.