Monmouth County officials have announced the expansion of the county’s COVID-19 free testing program and provided COVID-19 updates.
“Beginning on Dec. 8, the county will be operating mobile testing twice per week, specifically for healthcare workers and first responders,” Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said during a Dec. 2 press conference.
“We are incredibly grateful to all of our front-line workers and all that they do to keep Monmouth County residents safe and healthy and we want to do whatever we can to support them.
“The Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) will administer the tests and perform contact tracing for anyone who tests positive. MCHD will continue to operate the county’s COVID-19 testing for all county residents four days per week,” Arnone said.
The mobile testing will be offered in four municipalities: Ocean Township, Manalapan, Middletown and Wall Township. The sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and there will be 100 tests available at each site, according to a press release from the county.
The times and locations for all COVID-19 testing sites will be posted on www.visitmonmouth.com and on the county’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
“This pandemic has affected all of us, but it has placed our first responders directly in harm’s way,” Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said. “They risk their lives every day as they respond to critical incidents to protect the residents of Monmouth County and we need to support them by providing expedited testing through the mobile Field Communications Unit.
“This effort, led by the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Monmouth County Health Department and the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, will help ensure our first responders’ health and well-being and provide them with peace of mind as they work on the front lines,” Golden said.
Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley provided an update on the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine.
“We could expect vaccinations to be shipped to New Jersey within the next three to four weeks,” Kiley said. “Vaccines will be distributed to hospitals first before local health departments and will be administered to healthcare and front-line workers before the general public. Vaccines are anticipated to be available to the general public in 2021.”
MCHD has been officially listed as a vaccine provider by the New Jersey Department of Health. MCHD will continue to work with the county’s Office of Emergency Management to establish points of distribution for the vaccine and coordinate vaccine distribution with the state Department of Health.
“Even though vaccine distribution is imminent, the health department continues to stress the importance of preventative actions the public can take, including social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing hands frequently,” Kiley said.
“Public health officials also urge the public to answer the phone when a contact tracer calls. Contact tracing is a vital part of reducing the spread of COVID-19 throughout Monmouth County communities,” she said.
Kiley reminded residents that the county is still offering assistance to residents who are experiencing financial hardship or are in need of mental health support. The Financial Recovery Warm Line can be reached by calling 732-683-8959 and the Mental Health Hotline is available at 732-542-6422.
Arnone concluded the press conference by providing an update on the Monmouth County CARES Economic Assistance Grant Program.
“Small businesses and nonprofits can apply for up to $20,000 in grant money for COVID-19 expenses. To date, we have approved more than 2,300 applications and dispersed more than $20 million.
“I strongly encourage all small businesses and nonprofits to take advantage of this as soon as possible. The CARES Act funding must be used by the end of this month and so there are only a few weeks to submit applications in time to process payments,” Arnone said.
Representatives of small businesses and nonprofit organizations may apply at www.MonmouthCountyCares.com