Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – As the need for coronavirus tests produced by the holidays appears to be on the decline, Ocean County will again modify the hours at the Ocean County College drive thru testing site.
Beginning the week of Feb. 8, the COVID-19 drive thru testing site will operate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, reducing the days from four to three.
"By monitoring the testing, we know we again can efficiently provide the same number of tests and meet the needs of our residents while scaling back to three days a week," said Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye. "The change will help assist in staffing our coronavirus vaccination clinics in the County."
There will be no testing done on Friday, Feb. 12 and Monday, Feb. 15 due to the Presidents Day holiday.
By increasing the number of appointments taken hourly, close to 400 tests can be administered per day.
"While we are not seeing appointments as of right now for 400 tests on a given day, if the need arises again we can manage it," Regenye said. "We are averaging about 240 tests each day we are open."
Ocean County Commissioner Gerry P. Little, who is liaison to the Ocean County Health Department, noted that more than 24,000 tests have been administered at the college site since it opened. As of Jan. 28, Ocean County has recorded 43,705 cases of the coronavirus.
"This testing site has been run efficiently, providing these important tests for our County residents," Little said. "We have closely monitored the needs and consistently adjusted the hours of testing at the college to accommodate our residents."
The testing site located off of Hooper Avenue, here, provides tests for both symptomatic and asymptomatic County residents by appointment.
To schedule an appointment for a test Ocean County residents can visit the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org. If residents have 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.
"Testing shows if you have the virus even if you are asymptomatic," Regenye said. "This can help reduce the spread of the virus so long as people quarantine.
"We have always encouraged our residents to get tested," Regenye said.
Regenye noted that in order to operate the COVID-19 vaccination clinics, it's key to have the personnel available to staff the vaccine clinics.
"By changing hours at the testing site we can prepare staff scheduling for our current vaccination sites and possibly any new vaccination clinics as they open," he said.
The Ocean County Health Department currently oversees the COVID-19 vaccination sites at the RWJ Barnabas Health Arena at Toms River High School North and Southern Regional Middle School in Stafford Township.
"While more than 14,000 vaccinations have been administered at the health department clinics, we continue to quickly reach appointment capacity due to the limited amount of vaccine coming to the health department sites," Little said. "We continue to encourage the Governor to engage all health care providers including hospitals, doctors and pharmacies, to become part of the vaccination process."
Vaccinations at the two sites overseen by the Ocean County Health Department are provided by appointment only and open to only Ocean County residents.
"We are following all state and federal guidelines in administering the vaccination to the public," Regenye said.
"Getting all of our residents vaccinated is a monumental task and one that calls for all hands on deck by all health care providers in the County," said Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn. "Ocean County is home to more than 200,000 senior citizens alone and a good number of them are waiting for appointments at this time. We are doing all we can to meet these needs."
Ocean County officials noted that while the Ocean County Health Department is a main source for vaccination distribution at this time, there are other locations throughout the state and also in the County.
The State of New Jersey's toll-free vaccination hotline (1-855-568-0545) is available to assist callers with identifying if they are currently eligible for a vaccination, pre-register for the vaccine, and to help them identify locations nearest to them where they can get vaccinated.
The hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day and can help callers in more than 240 different languages. In addition, more information on where, when and how you can get vaccinated, can be found on the New Jersey COVID-19 website at covid19.nj.gov.
"The testing site at OCC and our vaccination clinics are the result of a successful partnership with the college, our 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," Quinn said. "All of these steps are helping to reduce the spread of this virus and that is the ultimate goal."
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 this information are: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing and https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing#test-sites.