A second coronavirus testing site will open in South Paterson on Wednesday, mayor Andre Sayegh announced on Tuesday morning.
Sayegh said the testing site at the Aqel Medical Center parking lot on Crooks Avenue will operate from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. He said the facility will conduct nasal swab tests.
Site is appointment only, said the mayor. He said people should call 862-257-1760 or 973-685-9922 to schedule an appointment.
“You don’t need any symptoms to come here, you just need an appointment,” said Sayegh. “We’re expanding access.”
Sayegh said people will need insurance to get tested.
“We’re going to serve our community more by providing testing in this facility,” said Mahmoud Aqel.
Aqel said volunteers will help run the testing site.
“This will not be a city run facility, but it’s a city supported facility,” said Sayegh. He has taken an unique approach to expanding testing in the densely populated city of 150,000 people.
Sayegh has mostly partnered with doctors in the city to offer tests to the general public rather than opening a government-run testing site. His first partnership with doctor Richard Afanonja resulted in a testing site near the old Barnert Hospital that opened on Monday morning.
Sayegh said more than 200 people were tested at Afanonja’s testing site.
The mayor also mentioned testing senior citizens.
Testing of senior citizens living in Paterson Housing Authority buildings began today. Irma Gorham, director of the Paterson Housing Authority, said 65 seniors out of 112 living at the McBride Senior Residence on Ellison Street were tested.
“Residents are responding in a good way,” said Gorham.
Gorham is looking to get seniors tested at six Paterson Housing Authority buildings. She hopes to cover the six sites by Friday.
Paterson has the largest virus outbreak in Passaic County with 5,183 cases and 175 deaths.
Aqel has treated 400 Covid-19 patients, including the mayor, at his medical center. Sayegh has recovered from the virus. Aqel said he lost one patient, who was advanced in age, to the virus.
“The rate of new cases is slowing,” said Aqel. Number of new cases in the city has dropped over the past week, according to municipal government data.
Health officials had said many new cases emerging now are household transmissions: one family member gets the virus and passes it to the rest of them. Aqel confirmed this pattern. He said in one case there were 12 patients in one house. He called for a quarantine center to be set up in preparation of the next epidemic or pandemic.
“You know Paterson is so crowded there is more people living in a small space and sharing one bathroom; therefore, staying home for an infected patient in Paterson shouldn’t be an option,” said Aqel. “We should prepare for the next epidemic to have a designated quarantine facility where we can put infected patients to prevent transmission to other family members.”
Sayegh said he is looking at expanding testing even further through a partnership with St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.
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Updated 12:56 p.m.