New COVID-19/flu test is latest in series of innovations at free Union County Drive-Through COVID-19 Test Center, located at Kean University, which will expand testing hours and add new test beginning November 2nd

Beginning Monday, November 2nd, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to announce that the free Union County Drive-Through COVID-19 Test Center at the Kean University campus in Union Township will be the first such facility in New Jersey to offer a new three-panel swab test that produces results for the COVID-19 virus, Influenza A, and Influenza B all on the same swab. Kean is one of only two universities in New Jersey to serve as a location for free countywide COVID-19 testing, and it will be the first in New Jersey to offer the new three-panel swab test.

The Drive-Through Test Center is also expanding its schedule from twice weekly to three days a week. As of Monday, November 2, the Drive-Through Test Center will be open by appointment every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. No doctor referral is required, but the site is accessible by car only. To make an appointment online visit Union County’s new COVID-19 website, ucnj.org/covid19, or call 908-518-4307. The Test Center is available to all Union County residents, and to first responders and front line health personnel who work in New Jersey. No symptoms or doctor referral are required to use the Test Center.

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In addition to ensuring that all Union County residents have access to COVID-19 testing, the Test Center is Union County’s innovation hub for COVID-19 emergency response, including the introduction of new COVID-19 tests as they become available as well as recruiting and organizing health professionals and volunteers, and exploring new partnerships with Kean University including on-site specimen testing capability.

“The Union County family is facing this public health emergency together, and the new three-panel swab will be an important part of our efforts to help ensure that every resident has quick, reliable access to information about their exposure to COVID-19 and other potentially lethal viruses that are especially prone to spread at this time of year, regardless of their financial situation or their health insurance status,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Since the beginning of the outbreak last March, Kean University has been a key partner in our public health emergency response, and we are proud to bring this new testing capability to the Union Township campus and communities throughout the County.”

Kean President Lamont O. Repollet said: “Kean University is proud of our continued partnership with the County of Union to offer a convenient and accessible testing site for county residents and all front-line medical workers. As demand for testing increases, we remain steadfast in our shared commitment to defeat this virus and protect public health.”

Governor Phil Murphy stated: “This innovative partnership between Union County and Kean University will provide a very important service to residents of one of our most populous counties. As the flu season approaches, and cases of COVID-19 have risen at an alarming rate, Union County’s efforts to promote the safety of residents and to reduce strain on our healthcare system are remarkable and needed.”

Union County established the free Drive-Through Test Center at the campus of Kean University at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak on March 23, and continues to be the lead agency in organizing, financing, and running the operation through the Union County Division of Health in the Department of Public Safety in partnership with Kean University.

The new three-panel swab test will be introduced starting on Monday, November 2 with an initial turnaround time of 48 hours, which will be phased down to just 24 hours before the end of the month.

The 24-hour turnaround will be accomplished by transitioning specimen tests from a vendor located off-campus to a new on-campus lab to be operated by Kean University. The Division of Health is overseeing establishment of the new laboratory.

Union County’s Mobile Test Unit has also increased its activities. As of Tuesday, November 3, the Mobile Test Unit will offer free tests on a regular basis every Tuesday and Thursday, at various locations throughout the County. These are walk-up events; no car is required. For upcoming dates and locations visit ucnj.org/covid19.

The new initiatives are in response to an increase in COVID-19 case numbers in New Jersey and elsewhere. Public health experts have warned the public to prepare for an increase in COVID-19 cases during the fall, as the start of the seasonal flu year coincides with an increase in activities indoors, where COVID-19 is more likely to spread.

In support of its COVID-19 response efforts, Union County is also offering free seasonal flu vaccines at various locations. For the schedule of upcoming flu shot drives visit ucnj.org/covid19.

The Union County Drive-Through Test Center has provided free COVID-19 tests to more than 60,000 Union County residents, first responders and front line health personnel working in New Jersey since opening on March 23. It was the first county-based test center to open in New Jersey, and continues to lead in offering new resources .

The Union County COVID-19 Mobile Test Unit is part of the Division of Health. It began operating in March with an initial focus on walk-up, on-site testing for senior residences and other vulnerable populations. The service recently expanded to include walk-up tests for the general public in communities throughout Union County.

The Mobile Test Unit also provides walk-up tests at various locations for Union County’s new school district test program, and it runs Union County’s COVID-19 testing, tracking, tracing and public outreach programs.

For more information and updates on all Union County services and resources during the COVID-19 outbreak, including guidance for using the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University and the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, visit the new Union County COVID-19 website at ucnj.org/covid19.