Governor Phil Murphy has announced plan by Jersey to take 2.6 millions of rapid coronavirus tests from the federal government.
While announcing the plan on Monday at his regular COVID-19 briefing in Trenton, Murphy said the test, which will be able to deliver results within 15 minutes, “is a big deal” and could be a “game-changer”.
The first 170,000 are expected to arrive within the next two weeks and will continue to arrive at that rate each week, he said, allowing the state to nearly double its current daily testing capacity.
With New Jersey’s current 25,000 daily tests, the plan is to first send the tests to schools and underserved communities, Murphy said.
He added that the tests will also be made available to essential workers and utilized in some capacity to keep businesses open.
The FDA-approved tests are conducted by “an easy (swab) front lobe of your nose” and then swiped onto a test that is the size of credit card, Murphy said.
Officials said the tests — BinaxNOW rapid tests produced by Abbott Labs cost — $5 apiece without the federal government’s charge from the state.
On Sunday, New Jersey reported one more coronavirus death and 561 more positive tests Monday as the rate of transmission ticked up slightly, prompting Murphy to warn of a spike in Ocean County.
That is the second-most in the U.S. after New York. New Jersey has the nation’s highest COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 residents.
As an early coronavirus epicentre, New Jersey, has reported 204,107 COVID-19 cases in the nearly seven months since the outbreak here started in early March, making it the eighth-most cases among the United States.
The state of 9 million people has reported 16,107 deaths related to the virus — 14,316 lab-confirmed and 1,791 considered probable.
So far, nearly 3.6 million tests have been administered since the state’s first case on March 4.