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The Burlington County Health Department is already seeingincreases in the number of people being tested for COVID-19 following therecent expansion of its testing program.
More than 600 people were tested last week through thecounty’s home testing option or at the County’s new in-person test site atRowan College at Burlington County in Mount Laurel. The total includes 247people tested through the home testing program and another 365 who were testedat the new test site at the college.
“We know that testing is critical to combating the spreadof the virus so we’re pleased to see county residents and workers takeadvantage of our new expanded program,” said Dr. Herb Conaway, director of theBurlington County Department of Health.
He noted that positive cases of COVID-19 have increasedacross the county in recent weeks. Between Oct. 6 and Oct. 13 more than 335county residents tested positive for the virus, a 4% increase.
“Testing provides our residents and workers withinformation they need for their own health and safety and for the health andsafety of their family, friends and co-workers,” Dr. Conaway said. “By all ofus working together and taking commonsense precautions -- such as wearing masksin public and obeying social distancing rules – we can help control the spreadof this deadly virus. We must not let down our guard. In fact, with coolertemperatures arriving and increased time spent indoors, we need everyone to beextra vigilant.”
Allcounty residents are eligible for testing, along with health care workers andfirst responders who work in the county. However, children younger than 6 areineligible for home testing.
Under the new program, residents seeking ahome test should visit (www.homecovidtest.org) to enroll on and provide proof of residency or employment.
Both the home testing and the testing at the college siteis provided through a new partnership between the Burlington County Board ofChosen Freeholders, Vault Medical Services of New Jersey, the Rutgers ClinicalGenomics Laboratory and the State of New Jersey.
Underthe program, residents will register online and be sent a home testing kit withinstructions on how to collect a saliva sample and send it the Rutgers lab.Test results are expected to be returned within 72 hours.
Residentsshould also have their health insurance card handy, but a lack of insurance will notprevent someone from using at-home COVID-19 testing. Federal rules require thecollection of insurance information to support the testing program. Underfederal law, all forms of public and private insurance must cover FDA-approvedCOVID-19 tests with no out-of-pocket costs to insured persons.
Aftereligibility is verified, residents will be emailed a testing code number and alink to Vault’s webpage to request a county-funded test kit. The kit will beshipped overnight with instructions on how to schedule a Zoom tele-healthmeeting with a certified health care worker who will virtually oversee andinstruct the resident about how to properly collect a saliva sample forshipment to Vault and the Rutgers lab for testing.
Testingat the County’s new fixed site on the RCBC campus is performed on Tuesdays andThursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Times and locations of mobile test sites are under reviewand will be announced soon.
Morethan 8,000 people have been tested through the County program since its launchin March at a fixed testing clinic site in Westampton and at mobile clinics throughout the county.
Conawayalso encouraged residents of all ages to obtain a flu shot as soon as possibledue to the coronavirus pandemic overlapping with the upcoming influenza season and the danger that some residents could become infectedwith both illnesses.
A schedule of the County’s flu shot clinicsis available online at https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1360.
The Health Department is accepting appointments for its child immunization clinics on Mondays from 9:30 am to noon and 2 PM to 5 PM Uninsured children and those covered by New Jersey Family Care Plan A aged 5 to 18 are eligible, along with any individuals of Native American or Alaskan Native descent. To make an appointment go to http://provider.kareo.com/dr-herbert-conaway#?view=booking.