TOMS RIVER-It’s not yet but soon, Ocean County College will be a drive-thru coronavirus testing site according to county officials. There will be no medical or health services provided at the site, just testing.
“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.”
While plans are being completed to open up a drive thru testing site at Ocean County College for the coronavirus, residents are encouraged to obtain a doctor’s prescription to use the service.
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. “If you can be tested before we open the site I would strongly urge you to do so,” Regenye said.
Once opened, the prescription along with proper identification/proof of residency and registration will be required to get tested at OCC. Ocean County will be providing additional notification as soon as the site is open to the public. The information will be posted on the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org and the Ocean County government website at www.co.ocean.nj.us under important coronavirus updates. Opening information also will be distributed through social media.
The site will be set up to test about 180 people per day.
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“A testing site on the campus of Ocean County College is an extraordinarily important step which will make testing more accessible to Ocean County residents who perhaps need it the most – senior citizens and others at higher risk. Currently, testing is a prerequisite for certain medicines including remdesivir and the sooner people can get tests and results the more options they will have for treatment,” said Rep. Smith, who represents several towns in northern Ocean County.
“Repeating the words of our Governor, this site is not for the ‘worried well,’ ” Vicari said.
The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department is providing security and traffic control at the site and the staff from the 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 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.
Once the test has been performed, it’s anticipated to take about three to five days for results to be returned. “All the results will come back to the Ocean County Health Department and residents will be notified whether they test positive or negative,” Regenye 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.
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.”
Ocean County will also establish a process to ensure that people with test results are informed in a timely manner and provided with guidance, consultation and next steps.
“Learning whether you have coronavirus is just the first step,” Public Health Coordinator Regenye said. “We want you to have the proper follow up care also.”