Ocean County College will play host to a drive-through testing site for the novel coronavirus, largely run by county authorities. Officials said Wednesday that they are now finalizing plans to open the site, however no specific date has been announced as to when testing will begin.
According to Ocean County officials, the site will be able to test approximately 180 people per day. Residents are being encouraged to obtain a prescription for a test before going to the site. The testing will be available only for Ocean County residents, and once open, the prescription along with proper identification/proof of residency and registration will be required to get tested.
“We are not going to do any health screening at the site,” said Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye. “It is just for testing for the virus.”
Ocean County residents who are showing signs of the virus or who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus should contact their doctor immediately to see if they need to be tested, health officials urged.
“If you can be tested before we open the site I would strongly urge you to do so,” Regenye said.
The primary agencies running the testing site will be the Ocean County Health Department and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s department will be providing security and traffic control at the site and the staff from local hospitals will be administering the test at the drive thru.
“The testing site will be overseen by the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management,” Sheriff Michael Mastronardy said “We are working closely with all other agencies involved to make certain everything goes smoothly.”
Residents will remain in their cars and hospital medical personnel will perform a nasal swab, said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little.
“We are working to make this convenient and more importantly safe for the public, the health care providers on site and our staff that will be there,” Little said.
Ocean County has entered into a contract with BioReference Laboratories for the first 1,000 coronavirus test kits to be used at the site. The county’s contract is independent of the state’s contract with the company.
“With the help and guidance of Congressman Smith we will also be assisted by Quest Diagnostics for some supplemental testing kits,” Freeholder Joseph Vicari said. “Congressman Smith has been making every effort to get us what we need at this site. We are grateful for his help.”
The most common symptoms of COVID 19 are fever, fatigue, a dry cough and shortness of breath.
Health experts say individuals not experiencing any signs or symptoms of a respiratory illness are discouraged from being tested as it diverts resources away from those who need it most, floods the laboratory with specimens unlikely to test positive and provides individuals with a false sense of security when the results come back negative.
“We are doing everything we can to have safeguards in place to protect the nurses and medical personnel on site and the public coming to be tested,” Mastronardy said. “We strongly urge the public to adhere to the requirements we have established.”