TOMS RIVER – With Ocean County College closed for the rest of the semester, it will be the future site of a drive-through testing center for the coronavirus. However, there are some things you need to know before you go.
“We are not going to do any health screening at the site,” said Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye. “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.
The site is still in the planning stages. When it does open, information will be blasted out through social media and on county websites ochd.org and co.ocean.nj.us under the heading for coronavirus updates.
“If you can be tested before we open the site I would strongly urge you to do so,” Regenye said.
What you need to do:
- Get a prescription
- Register for a test
- Assemble your necessary paperwork: prescription, proof of residency/identification, registration
- Drive to OCC. You stay in your vehicle while hospital medical personnel perform a nasal swab
- Wait three-five days for results. Results are reported to the Ocean County Health Department and residents will be notified whether they test positive or negative
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.
“Learning whether you have coronavirus is just the first step,” Regenye said. “We want you to have the proper follow up care also.”
The site will be set up to test about 180 people per day.
Ocean County has entered into a contract with BioReference Laboratories for the first 1,000 coronavirus test kits to be used at the site. The county’s contract is independent of the state’s contract with the company.
“With the help and guidance of Congressman Smith we will also be assisted by Quest Diagnostics for some supplemental testing kits,” Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari said. “Congressman Smith has been making every effort to get us what we need at this site. We are grateful for his help.”
“This testing site for Ocean County residents is the result of the combined efforts of U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management under the direction of Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy, the Ocean County Health Department, Ocean County College, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and Hackensack Meridian Health,” said Vicari. “The drive thru testing site will help with our large senior population and those residents who have been advised to be tested for the coronavirus.”
“Currently, testing is a prerequisite for certain medicines including remdesivir and the sooner people can get tests and results the more options they will have for treatment,” said Rep. Smith, who represents several towns in northern Ocean County.
“Repeating the words of our Governor, this site is not for the ‘worried well,’” Vicari said.
“We will be adhering to the strict requirements for getting a test at this site,” said Sheriff Mastronardy. “If you haven’t registered and if you don’t have a doctor’s prescription we cannot provide you with a test. I cannot stress this enough.”
The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department is providing security and traffic control at the site and the staff from the hospitals will be administering the test at the drive thru.
“We are doing everything we can to have safeguards in place to protect the nurses and medical personnel on site and the public coming to be tested,” Mastronardy said. “We strongly urge the public to adhere to the requirements we have established.”
The most common symptoms of COVID 19 are fever, fatigue, a dry cough and shortness of breath.
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.