Hunterdon first responders and essential workers will no longer need a prescription to be tested for COVID-19

Eufemia Didonato

Thousands of Hunterdon residents will no longer require a physician prescriptions to be tested for the coronavirus at a site jointly launched by Hunterdon County freeholders and the Hunterdon Medical Group in July.

The Hunterdon Freeholders approved expanded testing at the current test site, located at 121 Route 31 South, Suite 100, in Raritan Township during its meeting on Tuesday.

Beginning Oct. 13, individuals that will no longer need a physician’s prescription to be tested at the site include those who are symptomatic or who have been exposed to the virus; first responders; teachers; childcare center workers; healthcare and hospital workers; group home staff and residents; food service and preparation workers; and other critical industry workers.

All other Hunterdon County residents can still be tested at the site, but must have a physician’s prescription.

According to Freeholder Director Shaun C. Van Doren, this action reflects the freeholders’ predominant concern “to make testing available for more categories of people,” especially those “in close contact with others and those who have had contacts with positive COVID cases.”

“Under the amended agreement with Hunterdon Medical Group, in addition to those exhibiting symptoms, the expanded program will now allow testing appointments for first responders, teachers, and other essential workers without the need for a doctor’s prescription,” Van Doren said in a press release shared with NJ Advance Media.

According to Karen DeMarco, the county’s health officer, expanded testing is not only beneficial to Hunterdon residents but to the county Health Department as well.

“Identifying cases of COVID-19 through expanded testing increases the Health Department’s ability to interview cases and notify close contacts of their need to quarantine, resulting in less exposure and community spread of illness,” DeMarco said in the release.

Freeholder Deputy Director Sue Soloway, described the testing site as “successful so far.”

“The freeholder board is most appreciative of the hospital’s team working in collaboration with the county’s Health team to make it work effectively,” Soloway said in the release. “Expanded testing, and the County Health Department’s exceptional contact tracing program, will help health officials stay in front of any potential increased spread of the coronavirus.”

LuAnn Trainer, chief operating officer, Hunterdon Medical Group, expressed her satisfaction with the expanded testing while reminding residents to take their own measures to secure their health and safety.

“We are pleased to offer expanded testing to our community through our joint partnership with the Hunterdon County Health Department,” Trainer said. “We want to remind our community to continue to be vigilant and wear a mask, practice social distancing and continue to wash your hands frequently. Together, we can help contain the spread of COVID-19.”

Residents can schedule an appointment to be tested by calling 908-237-4230 or emailing [email protected]

COVID-19 testing is also available at Walmart, at 152 Route 31 North in Raritan Township, and at CVS, 798 Route 202 in Readington Township.

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Caroline Fassett may be reached at [email protected]

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