EAST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey has opened its first federal COVID testing site.

Gov. Phil Murphy toured the site at 90 Halsted St. in East Orange on Friday along with other officials.

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“With the Omicron tsunami, I think we’ve been calling it, we’re beyond calling it rather a spike, making sure residents have increased access to COVID testing, needless to say, is imperative,” he said.

“If you feel ill or you have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, make sure you get tested,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said. “If you’re traveling or have been at gatherings over holidays, get tested. If you’re not vaccinated yet today, get vaccinated.”


The setup is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s increasing community access to testing for COVID-19 surge response effort, which teams up with pharmacies and labs to provide free testing in underserved communities.

“It’s fitting for all of us to do our part to make sure that we are able to help decrease the number of folks that are getting affected by this COVID,” East Orange Mayor Ted R. Green said.

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Supply has not met demand in the state. There has been a rapid increase in positive cases, rapid at-home tests are nearly impossible to find on shelves, and there are hours-long lines at other testing sites.

“People are really, really desperate,” New Jersey resident Jerry Torres told CBS2’s Meg Baker.

“We can use all the help we can get right now,” Maritza Torres said.

The new site opens New Year’s Day and will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will have the capacity to administer up to 1,000 rapid nasal PCR tests per day with results provided approximately 24-48 hours later.


On Friday, New Jersey reported more than 28,000 new COVID cases.

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CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team