Even before sunrise, cars parked bumper-to-bumper for as far as the eye could see. They began lining up hours before the 8 a.m. opening; many slept in their cars. The row stretched down Paramus Road from Bergen Community College’s main entrance all the way to the intersection of Century Road, where it wrapped around the corner and up the hill for another two miles.
Of all counties in New Jersey, Bergen County has been hit hardest by COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. On Saturday, hundreds of residents were hoping to be among the 350 to get tested on the second day of operations at the new drive-thru testing site in Paramus.
But authorities had to close the entrance less than an hour after it had opened, because “maximum capacity” had been reached. Countless anxious people were turned away.
Inside the Bergen testing site, cones were set up and military personnel directed drivers into lanes that led toward white tents. Once there, drivers remained in their vehicles as the volunteer medical professionals in surgical masks, gloves, and protective gear, quickly administered a swab test and screened for symptoms. Once inside the tent, the process took no more than a few minutes.