New Jersey residents rush to get COVID-19 tests before Christmas

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The rush is on for New Jersey residents to take COVID-19 tests before the Christmas holidays.

Those looking for a lab test can cut it close to get results before Saturday. But hundreds of people were out on Tuesday to be tested. Some suspect the worst, while others just take a test as a precaution.

There was a constant flow of people at the COVID-19 testing site in West Orange. The demand for testing is increasing. Essex County operates three sites and officials say that as of Monday alone 5,600 tests were administered.

It comes as cases of the Omicron variant of the virus increase across the country.

“Whether it causes deaths or not – it’s not now – everyone says it’s very sweet.” The best thing people can do, our residents, is get vaccinated and keep getting tested, ”said Joe DiVincenzo, Essex County Director.

Residents of New Jersey are urged to make smart choices to help fight the virus. But these choices can be difficult to make.

“As parents, we have a million decisions to make every day to keep our children safe,” says Jessica Harrell of West Orange.

She says she chooses vaccination and regular testing.

But Harrell’s friend also just made a difficult choice a few days before Christmas.

“I actually chose not to visit my family in Georgia because of Omicron and all the variations,” says Loni Floyd of Bloomfield.

Floyd says she’s been there during the summer, but feels now is the time to be careful. And she’s not alone, which is why there are long lines for COVID-19 testing in the tri-state area.

The West Orange test site is located in a former Kmart. There was an army of workers to help get people in and out quickly.

The tests are free for the patient. But they cost the county $ 80 each. Essex County spent $ 20 million on testing. DiVincenzo says that’s what the Cares Act money is for.

“No matter what it costs, you can’t put money on something like this. It’s about the life and death of people, ”he says.

This last part still haunts him. Essex County has the highest death toll in the state.

DiVincenzo says it’s good for the White House to send tests and it’s good for the state to send them as well. The county will still keep the test sites running.

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