At least two new drive thru COVID-19 testing centers come online this week in New Jersey, offering tests by appointment only.

Ocean County's center, which is for county residents only, opens March 30 at Ocean County College in Toms River but already was fully booked for Monday, with over 300 people set for testing. Appointments for the rest of the week were available, as of Sunday.

Pre-screening and a prescription are required for Ocean County residents to be tested for COVID-19 at the new site, according to Ocean County public health coordinator Dan Regenye, who also pointed out the prescription does not necessarily have to come from a patient's primary doctor.

“Many health care providers are now doing telemedicine and are offering this service remotely and in the spirit of social distancing,” Regenye said. “Please do not unnecessarily expose healthcare workers or others in an attempt to obtain a physician’s order. Please use telemedicine when appropriate during this challenging time.”

Personnel from Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJ Barnabas Healthcare System are helping staff the event.

Mercer County also will open up a testing center at Quaker Bridge Mall on Route 1 in Lawrence Township on Tuesday, March 31, for eligible county residents, only.

The testing center is by appointment only for symptomatic Mercer County residents age 18 or older who have a prescription from their primary health care provider, with appointments being made between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes said the county is working with BioReference Labs, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, Capital Health System and St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton to administer the tests.

Passaic County has been running a county drive thru testing for patients with doctor's referrals at William Paterson University and Union County has a drive thru testing site at Kean University, for county residents with prescriptions.

As of March 30, both state-run drive testing centers — at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel and Bergen County Community College in Paramus — will go on a staggered schedule to allow 500 tests a day to be handled at each. Previously, 250 tests were able to be administered at each location.

On Monday, the Arts Center location off the Garden State Parkway will be open starting at 8 a.m. No appointment is necessary.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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