Bergen County COVID-19 drive-through site quickly reaches capacity

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Officials say the response at New Jersey's first federally run drive-through COVID-19 testing center was so overwhelming that the site had to stop accepting new patients.

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The governor's office said Friday the testing center at Bergen Community College in Paramus stopped taking new patients around noon, but kept testing as many people as possible before the 4 p.m. closure time. Over 600 tests were conducted.

“As testing improves, the number of positives will increase significantly,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.

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State health officials announced 155 new positive cases for the state Friday afternoon, for a total of 890 positive cases statewide. Officials also said that they are hurrying to build more hospital space as they brace for a wave of patients that could start to come soon.

“A surge of patients will stretch out health care system significantly,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.

Persichilli also announced two additional deaths from complications related to the virus – a 37-year-old man from Essex County and a Bergen County man in his 50s. The state death toll stands at 11.

Murphy is expected to announce an executive order on Saturday that will shut down all non-essential businesses in the state, in an effort to keep people home and limit the spread of the virus.

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“We’re probably as aggressive as any state in the nation and soon to be more aggressive,” he said.

The governor stopped short of calling it a lockdown, but said, “It’s our way of the highway.”

An additional testing site at PNC Arts Center in Holmdel is expected to open on Monday.

The Associated Press Wire Services Contributed to this report.

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