BRICK – There were some problems reported with a COVID-19 testing site that was set up on Brick Beach 3 in December where township residents could get free testing at a self-contained mobile unit.
Mayor John G. Ducey announced the free testing for Brick residents for six dates in December, which was reduced to five dates when the December 17th date was cancelled due to a nor’easter.
Ridgewood Diagnostic Laboratories gave the township some misinformation about several issues, the mayor said during the December 22 council meeting.
“There were definitely some problems that the lab did not tell us about going into it,” he said. “For example, reservations weren’t real reservations – it’s kind of like the “Seinfeld” episode where they know how to take the reservation but they don’t know how to keep the reservation.”
So people who had made a reservation for 9:30 or 10 a.m. would show up for their appointment and they would just be put on line with everyone else, he said.
Luckily, the service was available and people were getting the testing done, despite the long lines, he added.
After the meeting, Mayor Ducey said he was getting constant phone calls from residents who not only complained that reservations weren’t being honored, but also that there was a lag on the testing results.
Ridgewood Diagnostic Laboratories said residents would get results within 24 hours for someone who got a positive COVID-19 test. That turned out to be misinformation since people didn’t get results for three to seven days, he said.
Also, they said they would have two tents set up, but there was only one tent with only two or three medical professionals doing the testing.
“Some days there was only one technician – it was awful,” the mayor added. “We made a call and they would send somebody else, but they didn’t show up until 1 in the afternoon.”
On December 23, the last day of testing, Sandra Severini was waiting in her car towards the front of the line, having arrived at 7:45 a.m. for testing that would begin at 9:30.
“I just found out about this yesterday,” she said. “I feel fine, but Christmas is coming and I want to be with my grandchildren,” she said.
Severini, who lives on the barrier island, said her one previous COVID-19 result was negative after she got tested in August.
Casey DeLuca, 27, splits her time between her parent’s home in Brick and her Manhattan apartment. She has mostly been quarantining in Brick since March.
“My grandmother is 87, and she’s coming for Christmas, so I want to be safe,” she said. DeLuca tested negative after testing for the virus this past summer.
Ridgewood Diagnostic Laboratories lab tech Rose (she did not want to give her last name) said they tested over 100 people during each of their days in Brick.
“We do PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing with swabs, and we have been busy,” she said. “We’re busy everywhere – everyone needs to get tested,” she said.