OCEAN COUNTY, NJ  - Up until recently, New Jersey residents were only eligible for COVID-19 testing if they showed symptoms of the disease. More availability of test kits has expanded the opportunity. Since asymptomatic people can contribute to the spread without any recognizing their need to quarantine, it just makes sense to get tested. Anyone interested in doing so can take advantage of testing centers throughout the state.

The State of New Jersey maintains a list of community-based and local testing site locations, as well as their hours. Last week, the PNC Bank Arts Center expanded its testing eligibility to include New Jersey residents who were not exhibiting symptoms. However, preference for testing will be given to health care workers and workers in congregate living settings, and symptomatic first responders. Additionally, asymptomatic NJ residents who have been in close contact with someone else who has tested positive will be considered a priority.

Further north, Bergen County College will also test asymptomatic individuals. They subscribe to the same criteria in force at PNC.

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Meanwhile,some Rite Aid pharmacies decided to offer asymptomatic patrons the opportunity to get tested. The self-swab nasal tests are overseen by Rite Aid pharmacists. In Ocean County, the tests are available at the store located at 31 Mules Road in Toms River. Further north, the Rite Aid at 75 South Main Street in Neptune offers the same service. A  number of other Rite Aids throughout the state offer testing for both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.

Ocean County continues to offer COVID-19 testing at Ocean County College in Toms River. However, the health department has imposed the following restrictions:

  • Individuals must be Ocean County residents and have identification.
  • Healthcare practitioner script are required.
  • Online appointments must be set up in advance at www.ochd.org.
  • Individuals must be symptomatic.

This week, testing hours have been scaled back as the number of requested appointments have decreased substantially.

“We are adjusting the hours at this time,” Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye said. “Should we need to make changes again in the future we will do so.”

Regenye said that any practitioner (including Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Practice Nurse, Medical Doctor, Physician Assistant etc.) who has “prescriptive” privileges in New Jersey can write a script for COVID testing, it does not necessarily have to be a physician.

In addition, Regenye stressed that with many health care providers currently doing telemedicine, individuals do not need to see a physician in person to obtain the necessary script.