ONCE OPENED, DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION FOR CORONAVIRUS TEST NEEDED FOR OCEAN COUNTY COLLEGE TESTING SITE.
While plans are being completed to open up a drive thru testing site at Ocean County College for the coronavirus, residents are encouraged to obtain a doctor’s prescription to use the service.
“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.”
Ocean County residents who are showing signs of the virus or who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus should contact their doctor immediately to see if they need to be tested.
“If you can be tested before we open the site I would strongly urge you to do so,” Regenye said.
Once opened, the prescription along with proper identification/proof of residency and registration will be required to get tested at OCC.
Ocean County will be providing additional notification as soon as the site is open to the public. The information will be posted on the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org and the Ocean County government website at www.co.ocean.nj.us under important coronavirus updates. Opening information also will be distributed through social media.
“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 Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. 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.”
The site will be set up to test about 180 people per day.
“A testing site on the campus of Ocean County College is an extraordinarily important step which will make testing more accessible to Ocean County residents who perhaps need it the most – senior citizens and others at higher risk. 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. In particular, Smith thanked Freeholder Director Joe Vicari, County Health Department Liaison Freeholder Gerry Little and all the Freeholders, Sheriff Mastronardy for their foresight and responsiveness, and noted the hard work of the health department staff to properly stand up the new site.
“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.”
“Repeating the words of our Governor, this site is not for the ‘worried well,’ ” Vicari said.
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.
“The testing site will be overseen by the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management,” Mastronardy said “We are working closely with all other agencies involved to make certain everything goes smoothly.”
“Residents will remain in their cars and hospital medical personnel will perform a nasal swab,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who is 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 our staff that will be there.”
Once the test has been performed, it’s anticipated to take about three to five days for results to be returned.
“All the results will come back to the Ocean County Health Department and residents will be notified whether they test positive or negative,” Regenye said.
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,” Vicari said. “Congressman Smith has been making every effort to get us what we need at this site. We are grateful for his help.”
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.
“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.”
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,” Public Health Coordinator Regenye said. “We want you to have the proper follow up care also.”