Old Bridge, school district collaborate to offer COVID-19 testing through holiday season


OLD BRIDGE – As Old Bridge continues to be one of five coronavirus hotspots in Middlesex County, the township and the public school district have collaborated to provide COVID-19 testing through the holiday season.

“We saw a need,” Mayor Owen Henry said, adding it made sense to offer testing as Old Bridge is one of the larger towns in the county. “It was a monumental task to put together.”

The collaborative effort, which involves volunteers from township departments and a local laboratory, Synergy Med Labs in Aberdeen, began before Thanksgiving with three days of pre-Thanksgiving COVID-19 testing in the parking lot of Old Bridge High School. Some 1,100 people were tested from Nov. 22-24.

On Nov. 25, the township announced the continuation of testing twice a week through December to combat the increasing COVID-19 cases and potential risks of holiday gatherings.

A half hour before the testing site opened on Dec. 2, there was a line of cars already waiting for the testing site to open. Schools Superintendent David Cittadino said people can view a live webcam to see how long the line is before venturing to the site. Appointments are not necessary.

The next scheduled testing date is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 5.

Henry said not only are they fortunate to develop a community-based relationship for testing, which was approved by the county, their partnership with a local laboratory allows for COVID-19 results within 24 hours.

Cittadino said the name of the laboratory is fitting because the definition of synergy is a group collaboration with a common goal.

Henry said they would be remiss if they didn’t take steps to do something when the township was identified as one of the coronavirus hotspots. And with continued testing as one of the effective ways to combat the coronavirus, along with wearing a mask and social distancing, it was necessary to come together to offer testing in the township, Henry and Cittadino said.

The township put funds towards a trailer and the school district is providing resources. Henry said they hope the funds will be reimbursed by the CARES Act.

Cittadino added their partnership also helps any unnecessary stress in the hospitals as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

As of Dec. 2, the township reported 231 new COVID-19 cases between Nov. 25 to Dec. 2, which brings the total number of cases to 2,394. The township has lost 87 residents, according to Middlesex County.

Anyone with COVID-like symptoms or has been exposed to someone testing positive, are advised to take steps to prevent themselves from getting or spreading COVID-19. For more information about COVID-19 related matters in Old Bridge, visit oldbridge.com/COVID and its social media pages.

For Middlesex County information on COVID-19 information, visit discovermiddlesex.com/covid19/ or www.middlesexcountynj.gov/covid19.