TOMS RIVER – With COVID-19 seeming to increase swiftly throughout the state, Ocean County will be extending the hours of testing at the Ocean County College drive thru test site.
During the week of Thanksgiving, the site will be open by appointment only from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) and Friday the site will be closed. Afterwards, the site will be open five days a week, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“The increase in hours will allow us to increase the number of tests conducted from about 200 a day to about 300 per day,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who is liaison to the Ocean County Health Department. “Since the opening of the test site in March, we have closely monitored the needs and consistently adjusted the hours of testing at the college to accommodate our residents.”
The site will have tests for both symptomatic and asymptomatic Ocean County residents. Appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, residents can visit the Ocean County Health Department website at ochd.org. Proof of residency will be required.
For questions, call the Health Department at 732-341-9700, Ext. 7411. All emergency responders can also access testing at the site.
“As people see the number of positive cases increase, more want to be tested,” said Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye. “People also want to be tested for the holidays. Testing will show if you have the virus even if you are asymptomatic. This can help reduce the spread of the virus so long as people quarantine.
“We have also consistently encouraged our residents to get tested,” Regenye said. “When you add all this up the demand for tests has increased. We believe the longer hours will address this demand. We can also adjust the hours again if necessary.”
Currently, there have been 12,039 coronavirus tests performed at the college testing site.
“This site 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 Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “It’s important to be flexible at the site so we can offer more tests when needed.”
“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.
Once a test is completed, results will be returned to residents in approximately three to five days.
“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 created a system to deliver results to residents in a timely manner and provide guidance, consultation and next steps.
Officials are asking all residents to take the necessary steps to control and stop the virus from spreading. It’s asked that residents wear masks, practice social distancing, frequently wash hands and to stay home when sick.
As of November 18, Ocean County has recorded 19,163 cases of the coronavirus.