(TRENTON) – Three of the largest commercial laboratory chains in New Jersey only offer in-person serological testing for COVID-19, otherwise known as antibody testing, which assesses whether a person has been previously infected with the virus.
With the goal for commercial labs to expand their services and bolster New Jersey’s testing capacity, the full Assembly on Thursday voted 75-0 to approve legislation (A-4252) to require laboratories licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health to offer in-person diagnostic testing or at-home diagnostic test kits as well as serological testing for COVID-19. Diagnostic testing reveals whether a person is currently infected with COVID-19.
The bill’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, M.D. (D-Burlington) and Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex) released the following joint statement:
“Testing is one of the strongest tools in our arsenal in the fight against COVID-19. Widespread access to testing is critical. While we’ve expanded our testing capacity tremendously since the early days of the pandemic – there are over 250 testing sites across New Jersey – we will need to expand further to ensure testing remains convenient and accessible.
“Commercial laboratories already offer in-person antibody testing. They can and should do more to contribute to New Jersey’s testing infrastructure, particularly as we approach flu season and must prepare for a potential second wave of the virus in the fall. By requiring state-licensed labs to offer in-person diagnostic testing, we will put more testing sites on the map and bolster our efforts to keep the virus at bay.”