NJ governor: Statewide testing sites still for symptomatic people only because of FEMA regulations

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday afternoon said that the two statewide COVID-19 testing sites run by FEMA can’t allow asymptomatic residents to be tested and remain for symptomatic people only.

The announcement came hours after a state agency issued an alert informing people that as of Wednesday, asymptomatic residents of New Jersey could be tested at the two statewide sites.

Murphy said the state would need federal waivers to expand the testing at the two sites.

“It turns out whether we wanted to or not, we actually need a federal waiver because FEMA is our partner. We may have given an impression on that that was innocently not what the facts are,” Murphy said. “The entire testing regime — with an eye down the road toward what it needs to look like — is something we are reviewing top to bottom.”

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Medical Services had issued an alert at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning notifying people that the two statewide testing sites would be accepting asymptomatic residents for COVID-19 testing.

There are 84 other COVID-19 testing centers across the state, but many require residents to be symptomatic and have a doctor’s permission to administer the test.

Murphy said earlier this week that he thinks the state needs to double the number of tests it does daily.

If you want to know whether you should get tested for COVID-19, visit the state’s COVID-19 online information hub testing information page here: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_dashboard.shtml.