Coronavirus tests have been scarce in South Jersey since the advent of the omicron variant and a staggering spike in the spread of COVID-19. Testing opportunities for residents in Atlantic County, fortunately, will soon be expanding.
AtlantiCare and Atlantic County are collaborating to establish a new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site, according to a joint news release issued by AtlantiCare and the county. The site will be located at the county public works yard at Dolphin and Harvey avenues in Northfield and is scheduled to launch Monday.
It will offer polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing for both symptomatic and asymptomatic people who come to the site. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PCR tests are generally more sensitive than rapid antigen alternatives, meaning PCR tests are more likely to give a positive result if one does have COVID-19.
Appointments will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the site’s first day of operation and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day thereafter, Mondays through Fridays. The site will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17.
“We are grateful for the support of AtlantiCare in helping us provide this drive-thru testing facility that will serve to better meet the current demand for testing and alleviate some of the stress on other locations,” county Executive Dennis Levinson said. “I encourage our residents to take advantage of this free public service to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves, their families and our community.”
AtlantiCare and Atlantic County partnered to erect a testing cite earlier in the pandemic, before vaccines against COVID-19 became available. Once people did begin to get inoculated against the coronavirus, testing demand fell and the site was eventually disbanded.
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With cases increasing exponentially in New Jersey and across the country, however, demand for testing has started a steep climb. And with employer-based vaccine and testing mandates in effect, some unvaccinated people may need to receive regular tests to continue working — something that may only push testing demand higher.
“We anticipate being able to test 300 individuals a day,” said Larisa Goganzer, chief operating officer of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. “We continue to urge members of our community to be vaccinated and get the booster, to follow all COVID-19 precautions and to seek care in the most appropriate setting. It is important that we embrace these steps to protect each other during this time of exceedingly high community spread.”
People interested in getting a COVID-19 test at the new site must schedule an appointment. They can do so by visiting atlanticare.org/drivethrutest.
Results from the test will be made available 48 to 72 hours after the test is completed. People can access their results by visiting patient.labcorp.com/landing.
The joint AtlantiCare-Atlantic County news release cautions that scheduling capacity at the site and test result times are subject to change.
Contact Chris Doyle