Illustrating the extreme lengths to which terrified Americans will go to put their minds at ease, media reports and video circulating on social media show that a line that's 'thousands of cars' and 'several hours' long has formed outside a COVID-19 testing facility in New Jersey's Bergen County.
According to the Bergen County Record, when reporters visited, all the entrances to the new coronavirus drive-thru testing center at Bergen Community College were blocked off by noon on Friday, and signs warned that the facility was at capacity. Yet many persisted, with hundreds of cars lining up along Paramus Road, waiting to get closer to the facility.
Trying to maintain order, police tried to direct traffic and shouted orders through megaphones.
"It’s quite possible folks are going to have to wait a few hours,” said Christopher Neuwirth, assistant health commissioner for the state.
Videos that were posted online captured the intensity of the scene.
Here’s a closer look at the drive-through testing site in Bergen County New Jersey. National Guard and medical professionals in full gowns and masks. Line for testing is several thousand cars long. @CBSNewYork #covid19 pic.twitter.com/6F7es4Eq2S— Jessica Layton (@JLaytonTV) March 20, 2020
Video from my colleague @alexisjshanes showing hundreds of cars on line this morning at Bergen County Community College in Paramus as New Jersey opens its large #coronavirus #COVID19 testing area. @northjersey pic.twitter.com/u9uyv8D4Vc— Scott Fallon (@NewsFallon) March 20, 2020
The line moved at a moderate pace, with two cars accepted two at a time. The procedure - a quick swab - typically takes only a few minutes, tops. Some vehicles were filled with four or five people, while others were solo. Priority was given to those with symptoms.