The testing hours are changing at the Ocean County College COVID-19 drive thru testing site starting Monday, Jan. 11.
“As we monitor the testing, we know we can efficiently provide the same number of tests we do over the course of a week now while scaling back some of the days,” said Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye. “This will allow us to begin staffing preparations as we plan the opening of additional coronavirus vaccination clinics in the County.”
Starting Monday, Jan. 11 the COVID-19 testing site will be open on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The time will remain from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments are required and can be made by visiting OCHD.org.
By increasing the number of appointments taken hourly, close to 400 tests will be administered per day.
Ocean County Commissioner Gerry P. Little, who is liaison to the Ocean County Health Department, noted that more than 21,000 tests have been administered at the college site with almost 300 done on Jan. 7.
“This site, since it opened in March, has been run proficiently and professionally, providing these important tests for our County residents,” Little said. “We have closely monitored the needs and consistently adjusted the hours of testing at the college to accommodate our residents.”
The testing site located off of Hooper Avenue, here, provides tests for both symptomatic and asymptomatic County residents by appointment.
To schedule an appointment for a test Ocean County residents can visit the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org. If residents have any questions, they can call the Health Department at 732-341-9700, Ext. 7411. Proof of residency will be required. All emergency responders can also access testing at the site.
“Testing shows if you have the virus even if you are asymptomatic,” Regenye said. “This can help reduce the spread of the virus so long as people quarantine.
“We have always encouraged our residents to get tested,” Regenye said.
He added that the demand for testing has begun to lessen slightly since the 2020 holiday season ended.
Regenye noted that in order to open additional COVID-19 vaccination clinics throughout Ocean County, it’s key to have the personnel available to staff the vaccine clinics.
“By changing hours at the testing site we can prepare staff scheduling for new vaccination clinics as they open,” he said.
The Ocean County Health Department currently oversees the COVID-19 vaccination site at the RWJ Barnabas Health Arena at Toms River High School North. Vaccinations are available at the location by appointment only for paid and unpaid health care workers, and also police and firefighters, all of which fall under the state’s Phase 1A group for vaccines.
“The testing site at OCC has been the result of a successful partnership with the college, our area hospitals, Sheriff Michael Mastronardy and the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, the Ocean County Health Department and a host of other collaborators who have come together to make this work for our citizens,” said Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn. “This partnership has been a true benefit to our citizens.”
Regenye noted there are other locations and testing sites for asymptomatic people that have opened throughout the state with some located in Ocean County.
Two websites providing this information are: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing and https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing#test-sites.
“At the Ocean County College testing site, residents remain in their cars and medical personnel perform a nasal swab,” Little noted. “We have worked to make this convenient and more importantly safe for the public, the health care providers on site and staff.
“Since opening we have met all the demand for tests and we will continue to do so,” Little said. “We have turned no one away.”
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 has also established a process to ensure that people with test results are informed in a timely manner and provided with guidance, consultation and next steps.
Ocean County officials are urging everyone to take the steps necessary to curtail the virus including wearing a mask, social distancing, frequent handwashing and staying home when sick.
As of Jan. 7, Ocean County has recorded 35,174 cases of the coronavirus.