Gov. Murphy: Data still shows spike in number of positive COVID-19 cases in Ocean County; more testing kits sent

Six-thousand additional COVID-19 testing kits are now in the Lakewood area after Gov. Phil Murphy says data shows a sharp increase in positive cases in the region.

News 12 Staff

Sep 28, 2020, 3:11 PM

Updated 1,383 days ago

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Six-thousand additional COVID-19 testing kits are now in the Lakewood area after Gov. Phil Murphy says data shows a sharp increase in positive cases in the region
Over the summer, there was an elaborate system of contact tracers staffed in the building on the Ocean County College campus. They were able to receive test results almost immediately and begin making calls because the testing site is only a few hundred yards away.  But this summer, that changed.
“When the state stepped in in early July, we dismantled that program,” says Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Dan Regenye. “Unfortunately, it was very efficient. It was very effective. We had to go with the state contact tracers. We've been struggling more with that and we are still trying to get our hands around that.”
Regenye says a staff of 100 local contact tracers employed by the local health department have been reduced to just a handful because the state hired its own group through a third-party contact tracing program.
“Get to the real-time contacting of the individuals,” says Regenye. “We were able to keep a couple on staff that were the best and we continue to work with the state to try to work through that to get the communication to them as quick as we can."
Ocean County has seen its numbers increase, concerning Gov. Murphy. Regenye says the quicker they can trace it, the faster they can control spread. Another issue the health department is running into is urgent care centers are holding data back, releasing positive case numbers in two week increments, not every day.
The testing site at the Ocean County College remains open Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. They will test anyone who wants to be tested, they just require an appointment. No prescription is needed.  
“We need to know right away so we can be able to put proper measures in place,” says Regeney. “If they are reporting numbers two weeks old there's, no public action at that point. You can't put the measures in place to protect the residents and public at that point.”
Regeney says while the numbers continue to climb, there remains no increase in the mortality rate or severe cases and hospitalizations, and the focus remains on slowing the spread. According to numbers released by the Ocean County Health Department, 240 new cases were logged over the weekend. 
The testing site at the Ocean County College remains open Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. They will test anyone who wants to be tested, they just require an appointment. No prescription is needed.  


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