With another record day of new COVID cases confirmed on Friday, state officials have heralded the opening of the first federal testing site, amid long lines at county and local test sites and a scarcity of over the counter, rapid tests.

Gov. Phil Murphy and state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli attended a news briefing outside the East Orange Senior Center, which would have the capacity to administer 1,000 COVID tests a day for the next two weeks, starting on Saturday at 7 a.m., Murphy and Persichilli both said.

The location at 90 Halsted St., would be open for testing from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. through January 14, according to state health officials, who also touted a new website for information.

As of Friday afternoon, that site was not yet live.

There were another 28,512 new cases confirmed Friday and 6,105 more likely cases, based on test results.

The state also reported 3,864 COVID hospitalizations, with 589 patients in intensive care units for Dec. 30, as hospital data has been posting a day later for the past few weeks.

On Wednesday, the New Jersey Hospital Association had announced all hospitals have reverted back to a level red set of visitor restrictions, based on “COVID hospitalizations increasing 47 percent in just one week.”

“This morning I convened the three hospital CEOs who comprise our regional coordinators. Our hospitals are ready for the surge,” Murphy said in a post on Twitter Friday.

“But, we must all do our part and remain vigilant: wear a mask, get vaccinated, get boosted, and get tested.”

Meanwhile, school districts were scrambling to try and piece together the latest CDC guidance on shortened quarantine times, against the spike in active COVID cases and a lack of state guidance.

“Dead silence from the NJDOE continues to plague NJ schools. You can hear a pin drop as conflicting guidance from the CDC & NJDOH swirls leaving districts to fend for themselves,” South Brunswick Schools Superintendent, Scott Feder said on Twitter Friday.

“2022 already looking a lot like 2020/2021 when it comes to timely communication from Trenton,” he continued.

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