OCEAN COUNTY – A plan to move the location of the COVID-19 drive thru test facility from the Ocean County College to the Ocean County Fire and First Aid Training Center, Volunteer Way, (off Route 9) in Waretown has been scrubbed.
Ocean County Health Department officials reversed their plans and reported on April 17, that it will continue to provide coronavirus tests to residents at OCC.
There was a plan announced a day prior that starting April 20, the facility would be moved from the parking lot at Ocean County College to Waretown but upon further deliberation, Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye said that due to logistics it made more sense for the test center to remain where it is in the more centrally located area in Toms River.
A final walk through at the Training Center resulted in some logistical issues being discovered causing the County not to use the Training Center for the drive thru test site.
“While the Training Center provided an inside venue, following this review, these logistical issues cannot be addressed in time for the end of this emergency declaration, Therefore, it was determined it would be best to continue the testing operations at the college,” Regenye added.
“The traffic flow is good and we are doing well there. Those being tested (for the coronavirus) are having a 10 to 15-minute wait. They are in and out and we are making it as comfortable as possible,” Regenye said.
Regenye added that that those who are testing positive are under 30%. “We are mirroring the national rate.” He also emphasized that anyone getting the test should continue self-isolating after receiving it.
Those who have symptoms of the virus should return home immediately after being tested and continue self- quarantining as should anyone have the coronavirus you would spread it if you are not isolated.
So far, at least 1,955 Ocean County citizens were tested for the coronavirus at the college testing site. Of those tests, 1,574 results have been returned. Just under 30 percent of the tests have been positive.
Residents can start to book appointments with the Health Department at ochd.org for the test site.
“Because of the limited number of tests we have, it still remains imperative that people follow the requirements to be tested at the test site,” Regenye said. “We do not want anyone to show up 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.”
Ocean County Health Department officials are reminding residents of the requirements to be tested include:
- You must be an Ocean County resident and have identification.
- You must have a healthcare practitioner script.
- You must make an online appointment at ochd.org.
- You must be symptomatic.
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.
He stressed that with many health care providers currently doing telemedicine, individuals do not need to see a physician in person to obtain the necessary script.
“Many health care providers are now doing telemedicine and are offering this service remotely and in the spirit of social distancing,” Regenye added. “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 – have telemedicine opportunities to assist Ocean County residents obtain the required healthcare practitioner script before traveling to the testing center.
The telemedicine services at the hospitals can be accessed at:
- Hackensack Meridian Health (Ocean Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center) hackensackmeridianhealth.org/covid19/RWJ Barnabas Healthcare System (Community Medical Center, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus) RWJBHtelemed.org use code RWJBH15
“I extend the appreciation of the Board of Freeholders to the hospitals, the Ocean County Health Department, Ocean County College, and our Office of Emergency Management that are all involved in overseeing the testing,” Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari said.
“I’m very appreciative to Ocean County College and College President Dr. Jon Larson for helping us with the site. All the agencies working there have gone above and beyond to make sure those giving the tests are safe and the public receiving the rests are also protected,” Vicari said.
Residents will remain in their cars at the OCC test site as before and medical personnel will perform a nasal swab.
Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who is liaison to the Ocean County Health Department said, “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.
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 Mastronardy, the Ocean County Health Department, RWJ Barnabas Health Southern Region and Hackensack Meridian Health.
“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 will also establish a process to ensure that people with test results are informed in a timely manner and provided with guidance, consultation and next steps.