Governor announces COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic people and forms a Council to...

Governor announces COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic people and forms a Council to plan reopening

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Governor Murphy made two major announcements today in the fight against COVID-19, according to his Facebook site.

This morning, his site announced that COVID-19 testing sites at Bergen Community College and PNC Bank Arts Center will now provide tests to asymptomatic New Jersey residents.

“Expanded access to testing is one of our key principles for getting New Jersey on the road back to restart and recovery,” Murphy noted.

He did however caution that the State is asking that asymptomatic individuals try to contact a health care provider before seeking testing, as front-line workers and vulnerable populations should have access first.

The announcement notes that, at both sites, testing will be prioritized for asymptomatic:
-Health care workers and first responders
-Personnel in congregate living settings
-Residents who have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The State made a previous asymptomatic testing attempt April 22, but it was quickly rescinded when it was found to go afoul of FEMA rules.

This afternoon, Murphy announced the formation of a statewide Council of leaders to advise on New Jersey’s restart and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The Governor’s Restart and Recovery Advisory Council will work in conjunction with a commission named last week and will bring together leaders from various industry, community, and faith-based groups and institutions across New Jersey to advise state leadership on economic issues impacted by the pandemic,” according to the statement.

“As we begin the difficult task of restarting New Jersey’s economy and recovering from the damaging effects of COVID-19, this advisory council brings together leaders from all walks of New Jersey life,” said Murphy. “This group will not only help us gather the local intelligence we need to get our economy running again, but also will help us create the framework for coping with our new long-term economic realities.” 

The statement went on to explain as follows:

“In addition to focusing on issues surrounding the short-term restarting of New Jersey’s economy, this council also will begin the task of positioning the economy and creating a framework for the long-term recovery.    

“The council will be co-chaired by New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis, New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan, and Choose New Jersey President and CEO Jose Lozano.

“The advisory council subcommittees will begin virtual meetings next week. [Its] nine subcommittees are Facilities and Construction; Government; Health Care; Main Street; Manufacturing and Supply Chain; Professional Services; Social Services and Faith; Tourism and Entertainment; and Transportation and Infrastructure. 

“While the commission named by Murphy last week will focus on national, state and macroeconomic issues surrounding the restarting, the advisory council will take a microeconomic view of the recovery, determining the individual challenges that each sector faces. The advisory council is expected to remain empaneled for as long as necessary to advise the Governor on the state’s recovery. 

“We understand that we need a smart, granular approach to recovery. How you reopen a restaurant at the shore is different from how you restart a factory in South Jersey,” Murphy noted. “This council will also be guided by our core principle of building a New Jersey that is stronger and fairer and works for every family.” 

“Members of the council and their respective committees can be found here.”

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