UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — More and more people are lining up to get tested for COVID-19, but some changes in the Tri-State Area seem to be cutting wait times.

Michael Wang, of Short Hills, New Jersey, got tested for COVID, along with his wife and kids, a day after coming home from a ski trip.

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They ran into no problems at New Jersey’s new mass testing site at the East Orange Senior Services headquarters on Halsted Street.

“We registered before we came here, and it takes, like, half an hour,” he told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

Compare that to waits of three hours at nearby testing sites.

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“It’s very quick,” East Orange resident Roy Carroll said.

Carroll said he got tested to stay current on his status and keep everyone safe, including his ten grandchildren.

“I was one of those people that were reluctant to come get the test, but we need this done,” he said.

“Once individuals understand the benefit of testing, then they’re apt to come and get tested,” said Dr. Monique Griffith, East Orange health and human services director.

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Griffith is glad to see the first federally sponsored testing site in New Jersey run smoothly from the get go.

Those with appointments, and also those who just walk up, are welcome from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

It’s open for at least the next two weeks. The site can handle up to 1,000 PCR tests per day with results back in about 24 hours.

Starting Jan. 3, vaccinations get added in the same building in a room right next to where the testing is done.

“We knew there was a need, and I’m glad that they’re able to take advantage of the resource,” Griffith said.


Meanwhile, resources for thousands of Long Island residents made it easier and quicker to get at-home test kits.

At Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, each car was allowed three boxes for free. Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman was among those helping hand them out on his very first day in office.

“I’m told the average wait Thursday for the test kits was about two hours. I’m told it’s less than 15 minutes now, so it’s very manageable. It’s going very well,” he said.

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Saturday, 23,000 at-home kits were given away outside the coliseum, and it will happen all over again Sunday with 17,000 free kits being handed out.

Dave Carlin