OCC Continues To Serve As COVID-19 Test Center

Health employees work at the drive-through testing center at Ocean County College in Toms River. (Photo courtesy the Richards family)

  OCEAN COUNTY – The COVID-19 drive thru test site at Ocean County College in Toms River will continue to provide testing to county residents during the week of July 13, but with earlier hours.

  Now, tests will be done during the hours of 8 a.m. to noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Even though the site is currently providing tests for both symptomatic and asymptomatic county residents, appointments are still required.

  Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye said, “the time schedule is being adjusted to help provide a better testing work environment for the nurses administering the tests at the site.”

  “The summer heat and humidity combined with having to wear layers of personal protective equipment (PPE) while testing people outside at the drive thru is creating less then suitable conditions for the dedicated nurses. We want to take advantage of lower temperatures during the early daytime hours that we are there,” Regenye said.

  As of July 6, County residents who did not show signs of the novel coronavirus were able to get tested at the OCC drive thru.

  Regenye said, “we are now providing tests to asymptomatic residents in order to increase testing opportunities in the community. We are no longer requiring a script from a healthcare practitioner at the college drive thru, however appointments are still required.”

Photo by Bob Vosseller
Photo by Bob Vosseller

  To schedule an appointment, residents can visit the Ocean County Health Department website at ochd.org. If anyone has 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.

  More than 5,798 coronavirus tests have been performed at the college testing site which has been the result of a successful partnership with the college, 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,” Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari said,

  Vicari added, “by opening it up to people that are asymptomatic we are increasing the number of people that can be tested in the county.”

  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 information are: covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing and covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing#test-sites.

  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 Michael G. Mastronardy, the Ocean County Health Department, RWJ Barnabas Health Southern Region and Hackensack Meridian Health and Ocean County College.

   “Residents remain in their cars and medical personnel perform a nasal swab at the OCC site,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little.

  Little serves as 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.

  Regenye said, “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.”

Symptoms of COVID 19 include 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 has recorded 9,760 cases of the coronavirus as of July 10.