Could You Have COVID-19

Thanks To A Unique Partnership, Ocean County Residents Have Access To Convenient Drive-Through Testing

In late March, the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD), Community Medical Center (CMC) and three other hospitals teamed up to offer convenient, drive-through COVID-19 testing at Ocean County College. More than 50 people were involved in running the site, including CMC nurses, who performed the testing.

The OCHD had administrative and clinical oversight of the facility and provided personal protective equipment. The County of Ocean secured the testing contract with BioReference Laboratories, the company that provided the test kits and performed the analyses. Also involved were the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, which provided security and traffic control, and the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, which oversaw the security detail of the testing site. “Despite our different backgrounds, we came together seamlessly,” says Teri Kubiel, DNP, MSN, NE-BC, Vice President of Patient Experience and Community Affairs at CMC.

Tents have been set up outside the College and people remain in their cars for testing, which is performed via nasal swab. Ocean County residents are eligible for testing, as well as first responders and healthcare providers. OCHD employees call each patient to deliver his or her test results, which are also faxed to the patient’s physician.

Stopping The Spread

The lab sends the results of each test to the N.J. Department of Health Communicable Disease Reporting and Surveillance System, which tracks COVID-19 cases. If a person tests positive, he or she is contacted by a disease investigator, who conducts an interview, speaks to his or her physician and obtains his or her medical record. The disease investigator determines who the person has been in contact with, then a contact tracer reaches out to those contacts. The OCHD hired nearly 70 seasonal employees—nurses who work at schools and physician practices—to assist with contact tracing. More than 9,000 cases have been traced to date. If a person has been exposed to COVID-19, he or she must quarantine for 14 days and watch for symptoms. “The goal is to help mitigate transmission of the disease,” says Daniel Regenye, MHA, Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer at the OCHD.

At press time, more than 5,000 tests had been performed since March. The number of positive cases has dropped dramatically. At the end of March, 41 percent of patients tested positive for the virus. In June, less than 5 percent of tests were positive. If you experience signs of the virus (fever, fatigue, a dry cough and shortness of breath) or have been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with it, contact your physician to find out if you should be tested.