OCEAN COUNTY will continue to provide coronavirus tests to its residents at the Ocean County College drive thru test site the week of April 20 and beyond. The change of venue to the Ocean County Fire and First Aid Training Center in Waretown will not take place.
A final walk through at the Training Center resulted in some logistical issues being discovered causing the County not to use the Training Center for the drive thru test site.
“While the Training Center provided an inside venue, following this review, these logistical issues cannot be addressed in time for the end of this emergency declaration,” said Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye. “Therefore it was determined it would be best to continue the testing operations at the college.
“The college operations have gone smoothly, the traffic flow is good and we are doing well there,” Regenye said.
Regenye said the test requirements have not changed. He also emphasized that anyone getting the test should continue self-isolating after receiving it.
“If you have symptoms, you should be returning home immediately after being tested and continue self- quarantining,” he said. “If you have the coronavirus you will be spreading it if you are not isolating.”
Test appointments will continue to be held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and are scheduled in advance for Ocean County residents. The college site will continue to operate 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting.
So far, a total of 1,955 Ocean County citizens were tested for the coronavirus at the college testing site. Of those tests, 1,574 results have been returned. Just under 30 percent of the tests have been positive.
“Because of the limited number of tests we have, it still remains imperative that people follow the requirements to be tested at the training center,” Regenye said. “We do not want anyone to show up at this testing site without following the requirements we have put in place. 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 obtain the required healthcare practitioner script before traveling to the testing center.
The telemedicine services at the hospitals can be accessed at:
“I extend the appreciation of the Board of Freeholders to the hospitals, the Ocean County Health Department, Ocean County College, and our Office of Emergency Management that are all involved in overseeing the testing,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “I’m very appreciative to Ocean County College and College President Dr. Jon Larson for helping us with the site.”
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, RWJ Barnabas Health Southern Region and Hackensack Meridian Health.
“Residents will remain in their cars and medical personnel perform a nasal swab,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who is 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.