THE CALDWELLS, NJ — As the new year begins, people may be wondering where you can get a coronavirus test or vaccine.
With staff at hospitals and schools having to call out sick, medical professionals are worried about what might happen over the next few weeks.
In New Jersey, a whopping 17 hospital emergency rooms were on "divert status" as of Sunday, due either to patient volume or staff being out sick, up from four at the end of last week.
A study done of COVID deaths in Texas hospitals over this past fall determined that unvaccinated people were 20 times more likely to die of COVID than vaccinated people.
While pharmacies, government clinics, doctor's offices and the state have offered places to get a free test, demand has increased over the holidays.
But there are new ways to get or find a test, including via a new state website (see below). And the state has opened a new statewide testing center in East Orange.
In Essex County
First off, Essex County is still holding free COVID-19 testing at its three vaccine centers in Livingston, Newark, and West Orange. The centers are open to any person who lives, works, or goes to school in the county.
Always double check whether the site is open and whether you are eligible before heading over.
New State Website
New Jersey health officials have launched a website where people can search for COVID-19 testing facilities near them or across the state. Users are advised to double check the accuracy of the hours, and eligibility, by calling the site before heading over. Go to the site here.
Tests are available to anyone in New Jersey; insurance isn’t needed.
In addition, the New Jersey Department of Health and Vault Medical Services have partnered to offer a an at-home COVID-19 saliva test kit that is available to every New Jerseyan who thinks they need a test. However, tests have run out some days because of demand. Learn more here. To order the kit, click here.
According to the state website:
“The kit will be shipped through UPS with next-day delivery. Once received, you will connect over Zoom with a Vault healthcare professional who will walk you through the test and answer your questions. When complete, the test can be sent back in a prepaid package via UPS next-day shipping. You will receive your test results 24 to 48 hours after your sample arrives at the lab. You will not be charged for the test, and you will not be asked for your credit card information.”
Some NJ Emergency Rooms Are Full
Medical professionals say that breakthrough COVID-19 cases caused by the new omicron variant — infections among the vaccinated — are less common among people who have received their third vaccination shot, and that for vaccinated people who do get the virus, symptoms are often less severe. But public health officials are concerned that hospitalizations are increasing nationwide.
In America, more than, 823,000 people have died of COVID since the start of the pandemic. The daily death rate is highest right now in these states: Michigan, Tennessee, Arizona, New Mexico, and Pennsylania.
Patch Editor Eric Kiefer contributed reporting for this story.
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