Patients take advantage of NJ’s first drive-thru COVID-19 test site

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

A coronavirus test is done by swabbing inside the nose. It’s happening at  a drive-thru coronavirus test site in Secaucus, but only for patients of Riverside Medical Group. It’s all outdoors and under tents.

“Doing it outside prevents contamination of any of the offices,” said Dr. Iyad Baker, CEO of Riverside Medical Group.

Baker says Riverside follows CDC guidelines to determine who gets tested. Riverside screens patients first by phone to see if they’ve traveled to and from certain areas, if they’ve been exposed to someone infected and if they have a fever or shortness of breath.

“Once confirmed that the patient does qualify for the COVID-19 testing, they’re centralized here in this location,” he said.

Here, after a flu test and one for strep throat, the swab goes on ice and then to a lab for testing. Results are expected in four days.

“The fact that they qualify for that test, until we get those test results back they’re self-quarantining,” Baker said.

The doctor said the COVID-19 drive-thru testing began on Friday, and with more test kits and if necessary this test site could serve many more in the public.

“The response has been quite good. We have been able to get approximately, as of today, about 88 tests done. And now we’re waiting to get the results for a couple of them. Thus far a lot of the tests have been coming back negative. But as I said, the key to this is to get as many test kits as possible and to screen as many New Jerseyans as we can,” he said.

Screenings to avoid what’s happening at the epicenter of New Jersey’s outbreak. Holy Name Medical Center has 20 patients admitted with COVID-19, 8 of them in critical condition.

“We’re also beginning to see the virus effect the kidneys and we’re seeing patients go in to kidney failure who need dialysis and we’re seeing the virus effect the heart and patients having cardiomyopathy and heart failure as well,” said Dr. Adam Jarrett, chief medical officer at Holy Name Medical Center.