HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Teams of medical professionals arrived at the Hasbrouck Heights Swim Club parking lot at 8 a.m. on Friday to set up for the week's final day of mobile community testing.
Upwards of 50 people from Bergen County, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Bergen County Sheriff’s Department, Bergen County Office of Emergency Management and Hasbrouck Heights set up tables, chairs, canopies, and screening vehicles to finish out the sixth week of the community mobile testing program. The program offered both the antibody test and the Rutgers saliva “spit” test, which received FDA approval in mid-April.
Residents were guided through the multiple stations under protective canopies. They were greeted by staffers with initial paperwork, before going through registration to get their saliva test kits. After taking a seat in the Saliva Station (which one staffer called the Saliva Lounge) and providing the needed sample, they would cap the tube and shake to combine it with a blue solution. After wiping the vial with an enclosed alcohol pad, the resident would take it to the Sample Drop Off. Those being tested for antibodies would report to that area, and then enter the vehicle to give a blood sample.
Hasbrouck Heights resident Theodora Patusco said she and her daughter both were tested, and she found it a "seamless process."
Bergen County is the only county doing mobile testing, and the only outreach that is doing the saliva test, which is one of the most accurate tests, according to Bergen County Executive James Tedesco.
“We’ve offered it to every town (in Bergen County),” said Tedesco while visiting the Hasbrouck Heights site. “What we’ve found is, when we bring it, they will come.”
He said that the outreach is averaging 500 people a day. Between mobile testing, the Bergen New Bridge site, and walk up site, Tedesco said the county has tested about 27 thousand people. Results come back between three to fives days, he said.
“And that’s a great thing about how important it is to get peopled tested,” Tedesco said. “That’s the only way we’re going to continue to win the battle and then finally win the war. These are individual battles every day to keep the curve flatten, to get people tested, and make sure that if they are active carriers and have the virus, that they quarantine and get the medical care that they need.”
“We not only test, but we follow them,” said Tedesco. Residents will talk to a tele-med doctor, and then they can speak with their primary care doctor.
Those who test positive for the antibodies are able to donate their plasma to two locations in the state, University Hospital in Newark, and the American Red Cross.
Tedesco warns people who do test positive for antibodies about thinking they are immune.
“That’s not proven nor should you think that way,” he said, noting that the county is also providing education about COVID-19 along with the testing.
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