TOMS RIVER – In what could be considered a good sign, the hours for the drive-through testing center at Ocean County College will be reduced slightly starting May 11.
The site will continue to be open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The new hours will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Previously, it had been open until 3 p.m. Tests are by appointment only.
“We have noticed the number of appointments being made for the site have been decreasing so we need to adjust the site schedule,” said Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye. “The college drive thru testing site has gone very smoothly and we review the operations there weekly.
“Should we need to make changes again in the future we will do so,” he added.
Regenye said the decrease in appointments could be the result of fewer people getting the virus and also more testing opportunities becoming available in Ocean County.
“This drive thru testing site has been a cooperative effort by a number of agencies,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “It has tested 3,481 residents during the coronavirus pandemic so far.”
As of May 7, Ocean County has recorded 7,192 cases of the coronavirus. The positivity rate of those tested is 21 percent.
How To Get Tested
“Because of the limited number of tests we have, it still remains imperative that people follow the requirements to be tested at the college,” 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.”
In other words, you can’t just drive there if you feel like you might have symptoms. You must get a doctor’s prescription to use the service. If you are showing signs of the virus, or have been exposed to someone with the virus, you should contact your doctor immediately to see if you need to be tested.
What you need to do:
“Learning whether you have coronavirus is just the first step,” Regenye said. “We want you to have the proper follow up care also.”
Regenye 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.”
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.
For more information, visit ochd.org and co.ocean.nj.us and look for the heading for coronavirus updates, or call the Ocean County Health Department hotline at 732-341-9700, ext. 7411.
How To Get A Prescription
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.
Additionally, many physicians have processes in place so that patients don’t need to come in.
“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 – who are helping staff the test site – also have telemedicine that can provide prescriptions. They can be accessed here: