Rep. Smith Leads on NJ Delegation Letter to Keep Feds at NJ Coronavirus Test Sites
Members of the New Jersey congressional delegation are pressing the federal government to ensure that two federal COVID-19 test sites stood up in Monmouth and Bergen counties remain fully supported beyond an April 10th date originally designated as a time to transition operations over to the state.
“We are concerned that our federal partners are pulling up the stakes too soon, even before the peak of the virus hits our state,” said Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) who represents Holmdel, NJ which hosts the Monmouth federal testing site at the PNC Arts Center, with a second site in Paramus, NJ. He said Governor Murphy and state officials expressed concern about the date and urged the delegation to step in and help get an extension.
Smith and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), whose district hosts the other federal testing site located at Bergen County Community College, are leading the letter cosigned by members of the delegation, including Reps. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Bonnie Watson-Coleman (NJ-12), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Albio Sires (NJ-08) and Frank Pallone (NJ-06), as well as Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez. Click here to read the letter sent to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“We reach out to you today to urge you to continue to provide desperately needed supplies and personnel to the two federally sponsored COVID-19 testing sites in New Jersey until a clear and proven decline in positive cases and related hospital admissions has been observed,” the lawmakers said in the letter.
“We have been advised by the Governor and the New Jersey Department of Health that FEMA and the U.S. Public Health Service intends to transition the oversight of these two testing stations on or about April 10, 2020. This is highly disconcerting, as New Jersey health officials are expecting the peak in positive cases and hospitalizations to come after the April 10th deadline.
“Now is not the time for the federal government to step back from helping to identify those who may increase the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities….we strongly urge you to continue or increase your current commitment to supporting the New Jersey’s COVID-19 testing center until the peak of infections has begun its decline.”
The delegation letter notes that New Jersey has the unfortunate ranking of the second largest outbreak by total number of cases—second only to our closest neighbors to the north, New York.