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Coronavirus In New Jersey: COVID-19 Cases Near 900 As State's First Federally-Run Drive-thru Testing Center Quickly Reaches Capacity

PARAMUS, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey's first federally-run drive-thru coronavirus testing site that opened Friday was so overwhelmed, it had to close early. This came as the number of COVID-19 cases jumped to 890 in the state, including 11 deaths.

The federal testing site in Bergen County will reopen on Saturday morning and there are other local testing sites around the state.

Murphy says the number of positive cases is going up almost by the hour.

"The number of positive cases will grow significantly," Murphy said. "This is not and will not be a surprise."

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Murphy says it's the new reality in the state as COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing because there is more community spread and testing has ramped up.

"I urge residents to not let these numbers increase the anxiety they already feel, I know it may seem kind of counterintuitive. In fact, the more folks we test, the better we are able to reduce the anxiety," Murphy said. "This information is vital to us in our ability to flatten he curve. It's critical for us to do the things we need to do to keep more residents safe."

Murphy also said he was expected to issue more restrictions on social distancing, probably Saturday, but didn't indicate what that might be.

On the first day of testing at the first federally-run drive-thru in Paramus, there were so many people lined up, it had to temporarily shut down after doing 600 tests.

"We're going to get through it together. Again, not unscathed, not without mistakes or bumps in the road, but let there be no doubt, we will get through this together," Murphy said.

The site at Bergen Community College will be staffed by FEMA, along with state police and the New Jersey National Guard. It will be operating seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To be eligible for testing, people have to be current New Jersey residents and experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness.

People who are not symptomatic will not be tested.


Meanwhile, a 30-year-old man is among the 11 who've died from the virus.

"What we are finding is that most of the individuals, no matter the age, and I'm going to give a shout-out to general health here, diabetes is almost in every single individual," New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

The health commissioner says most of the patients continue to be in the northern part of the state. However, they do expect more cases in South Jersey and are working to increase hospital space, because there aren't nearly as many hospitals in the southern part of the state.

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