by Emanuele Calianno, Editor-in-Chief
A drive-thru Covid-19 testing center has opened at BCC’s Paramus campus for the second time this year, after daily cases in New Jersey have spiked in recent weeks.
The center is operated by the county and Bergen New Bridge Medical Services. County Executive Jim Tedesco told northjersey.com the center could handle thousands of tests daily, with test results expected in 24 hours.
Testing is free for all county residents, regardless of health insurance coverage. To avoid long lines, tests must be scheduled beforehand through an online portal.
In a recent report, Interim President Anthony Ross said free testing would also be offered to everyone at Bergen, even to out-of-county residents and international students.
Spokesperson Larry Hlavenka said the new center will not affect college operations, and has not caused any modification to its safety protocols. Only about nine percent of students are currently allowed on campus, with most areas closed or having limited access.
In a press release, BCC Board of Trustees Chairwoman Dorothy Blakslee welcomed the new center. “The College actively supports our County partners in the continued fight against COVID-19 and is pleased to serve as the host since we are a centrally and conveniently located site for this new drive-thru rapid testing program,” she said.
The first testing facility on campus, which opened in March and was operated by FEMA, faced long lines and often reached capacity after a few hours. Despite online registration, Tedesco said those with an appointment could still be expected to wait for about an hour.
The center is currently open on alternate days from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m on weekdays, and 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Testing dates have been announced through the end of December, with further dates yet to be released.
The center is located on the lower level of the parking garage outside of the Pitkin Building, with heated tents set up to protect from the elements. The upper level is being used as a waiting area, where cars can gradually make their way down in a line.