OCEAN COUNTY – A drive-through COVID-19 testing center will likely be another layer of safety and screening to slow the spread of the disease through Ocean County.
Ocean County Health Department officials are in talks now with local agencies to determine where the drive-through test will be located, and what the chain of command will be.
While the timeline for this service is not yet known, the county wants to get it started as soon as possible, said Brian Lippai, public information officer for the Ocean County Health Department.
There are other ways to get tested, Lippai clarified. There are tests at hospitals and private health care facilities. Testing has to be arranged through your health care provider, however.
As of press time, there were three Ocean County residents that have tested positive for the virus. Across the state, there are almost 200 cases, two of which have been fatal.
COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease, and 19 is short for 2019, the year the disease was first diagnosed.
Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Murphy has instituted a closure of all restaurants, casinos, gyms, racetracks, movie theaters, and bars. Restaurants would still be able to offer takeout. He has also called for the cancellation of all events with 50 or more people and started a curfew.
“All non-essential and non-emergency travel in New Jersey is strongly discouraged between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.,” Murphy said via Twitter.
“Everyone needs to stay in and be safe,” Murphy said. “And we can’t say this enough, that everyone needs to stay in and be safe and just because you don’t feel sick, and this is a particular shout-out to our young people, it doesn’t mean you aren’t carrying the virus. And the last thing that anyone should be thinking about is going out and spreading the disease.”
The state has ordered all schools to be closed, starting March 18, until health officials deem them safe to re-open.
“We’ve worked closely to ensure that the overall educational and individual needs of students can be met during this closure, including appropriate home instruction and continued access to free and reduced meals,” Murphy said.
Given how easy it is to transmit COVID-19, local hospitals are restricting visitation starting today.
Citing the health of patients, their families, and hospital staff, restrictions were announced at all Hackensack Meridian Health locations. This includes Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, K. Hovnanian’s Children Hospital, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Stafford.
Exceptions will be made in certain situations, including hospice, pediatric care, ambulatory care/same day surgery (one visitor), and maternity/labor and delivery (one visitor).
If a visitor is approved, they will undergo a temperature screening, and will have to provide their contact information.
Similarly, all hospital staff are being asked to take their temperature before they come in to work.
These restrictions will be reviewed in 30 days to see if they should be removed.