CAMDEN, NJ — Four weeks since Camden County began to lay the groundwork for a testing site at Camden County College’s (CCC) Blackwood campus, it will finally become a reality Wednesday.
Despite initial attempts to have FEMA run the site, Jefferson Health will manage testing in collaboration with the Camden County Freeholder Board and the county health department.
“Testing has been something we’ve been trying to do at higher rates than we have been doing, but the lack of availability of kits has made that very difficult,” said Camden Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli during a virtual press conference Tuesday afternoon at the campus.
The drive-up site — which will be open from Noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday — will dedicate two of its four lanes to first responders, those in the medical community and anyone on the frontline of the pandemic including supermarket and pharmacy workers.
Cappelli began the press conference by asking that all share in prayers and thoughts for the 49 individuals who have died so far due to complications from the virus.
In terms of cases, the county reported 95 more (total of 1,478).
“Right now is time to double down on our efforts, it’s certainly not a time where we should be loosening up our activities,” Cappeli said. “Staying at home is still important, as is social distancing.”
To access the CCC site, located at 200 College Drive in Gloucester Township, patients must have an appointment which can be made by calling (844) 542-2273.
Even if you have a script from a doctor, an appointment is required.
Brian Sweeney, interim president at Jefferson Health, said the site will be the hospital system’s third running — the others located in Cherry Hill and Washington Township.
He estimated roughly 500 people will be tested every week at the CCC site and in roughly two weeks Jefferson and Camden County will reassess operations.
In collaboration with LabCorp, test results are expected back between two and three days.
“A lot of front line workers live in the community and this is a way for us to give back to the community. This is in line with our mission and we’re very excited to have the opportunity to be participating in the testing center,” said Sweeney. “I think everybody knows this is critical in terms of mitigation strategies.”
Regarding the latest trends, the City of Camden exceeded Cherry Hill this week with the highest number of cases countywide.
Cappelli attributed that to the wider access of testing in the city.
“Once we set up our site down there a lot more people from Camden were tested, there were a lot of walk-up tests given, so based on number of residents of Camden City, we’re not so concerned [about the number] that tested positive,” he said. “It’s kind of proportionate to those in other municipalities of the same size. But it's important that the community be served. We’re hearing about the disparity of medical care to residents of the city.”
A testing site in the city of Camden has been extended until at least May, and further based on response.