An additional 36 daily appointments for coronavirus testing at the Ocean County College drive-thru testing site have been opened up and are now available to Ocean County residents.
Following a review of operations at the testing site which opened to the public on March 30, health care officials decided they could increase the number of appointments taken so long as tests are available.
“Going forward we will be scheduling about 180 appointments per day,” said Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye.
Appointments are scheduled in advance for Ocean County residents.
“There are now openings for Wednesday through Friday of this week,” Regenye said. “Because of the limited number of tests we have, it still remains imperative that people follow the requirements to be tested at the college.”
“We do not want anyone to show up at this testing site without following the requirements we have put in place,” he said. “We are not going to do any health screenings at the site. It is just for testing for the virus.”
Ocean County Health Department officials are reminding residents of the requirements to be tested include:
Regenye said that any practitioner (including Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Practice Nurse, Medical Doctor, Physician Assistant etc.) who has “prescriptive” privileges in New Jersey can write a script for COVID testing, it does not necessarily have to be a physician.
In addition, Regenye stressed that with many health care providers currently doing telemedicine, individuals do not need to see a physician in person to obtain the necessary script.
“Many health care providers are now doing telemedicine and are offering this service remotely and in the spirit of social distancing,” Regenye said. “Please do not unnecessarily expose healthcare workers or others in an attempt to obtain a physician’s order. Please use telemedicine when appropriate during this challenging time.”
The hospitals assisting in staffing the testing site – both Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJ Barnabas Healthcare System – have telemedicine opportunities to assist Ocean County residents to obtain the required physician script before traveling to the testing center.
The telemedicine services at the hospitals can be accessed at:
“I want to extend my appreciation to all of the residents going through the site. I know this is difficult for them but they are following the requirements and that ensures everyone’s safety,” said Ocean County Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy, who serves as the Coordinator of the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, which is overseeing the site. “If you haven’t registered and if you don’t have a doctor’s prescription we cannot provide you with a test. I cannot stress this enough,” he said.
Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari said this site is helpful for the many seniors living in Ocean County and all those with underlying conditions as they are more vulnerable to the more dangerous symptoms of the virus.
“Ocean County is home to almost 200,000 seniors, we want to work with that population and all of our residents with symptoms to get them tested, he said.
Partners in the testing site include U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management under Sheriff Mastronardy, the Ocean County Health Department, Ocean County College, RWJ Barnabas Health Southern Region and Hackensack Meridian Health.
The site will operate daily from 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. as long as coronavirus tests continue to be available and also weather permitting.
“Residents remain in their cars and medical personnel perform a nasal swab,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who is a liaison to the Ocean County Health Department. “We are working to make this convenient and more importantly safe for the public, the health care providers on-site and staff.”
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 be available on the BioReference Laboratories Patient Portal: Bioreference.com/patients/ and through the Ocean County Health Department residents will be notified whether they test positive or negative,” Regenye said.
The most common symptoms of COVID 19 are fever, fatigue, a dry cough and shortness of breath.
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