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What’s the difference between community-based testing, local testing, pharmacy testing sites, and private testing sites?

Last Updated: 05/22/2020


In partnership with FEMA, New Jersey has opened two community-based testing sites for any New Jersey resident who is experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness.

In order to be eligible for testing, individuals must be current New Jersey residents.

Testing is prioritized for health care workers and first responders, personnel in congregate living settings, those who have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, and individuals who are experiencing CDC-recognized symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever (at or above 99.6°F)
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle pain
  • New loss of taste or smell

Starting Sunday, March 29, the Bergen Community College and PNC Bank Arts Center testing sites will open on a staggered schedule, which can be found here. Each day these sites are open, they will be able to test 500 people starting at 8 a.m.

We are taking this extraordinary step to preserve the health and safety of the tremendous women and men working these sites.

Starting Saturday, April 4, every Saturday the PNC Bank Arts Center site will be dedicated to symptomatic health care workers and first responders -- police, fire, and EMS -- with valid credentials, such as a membership or employee ID card, only. The general public will not be able to access this site on Saturdays.


Local testing sites have been set up across New Jersey. These sites may be restricted to residents of a specific county or municipality, or to first responders. Some also require an appointment and/or prescription from a healthcare provider. Please check with your local testing site for its specific requirements.

You can find more information about these sites including their locations, hours, and testing requirements here.


The State has authorized the more than 18,000 licensed pharmacists in New Jersey to administer FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 tests to their customers without a prescription.

Testing is available at participating pharmacies including CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walmart. Please check with your local pharmacist as testing is not available at all locations and many require an appointment or online registration.

For more information, CVS, Rite-Aid and Walmart have set up websites where you can book an appointment and find testing locations.


Commercial labs are offering COVID-19 testing to individuals who meet certain criteria. However, these tests are not available directly to the general public. They must be ordered by a health care provider, who will order the test from the lab or provide you with a prescription to show the laboratory.


Both career and volunteer first responders and health care workers can also access appointment-only, drive thru testing sites in the Meadowlands, Deptford, and Somerset. These sites have been opened by the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association, in partnership with Accurate Diagnostic Labs: