With the highly contagious omicron variant swirling across the Garden State the number of new positive COVID cases continues to shoot through the roof, and getting tested for the virus is becoming harder and harder, but New Jersey residents can still request a free PCR test that’s delivered right to their home.

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said since the program, in partnership with Vault Medical Services was announced, 373,384 at-home COVID tests have been requested and shipped to New Jersey residents in less than three weeks.

How many tests can you get?

She said there is no limit to the number of tests an individual resident can request, however “residents are only allowed one test per person at a time, so they cannot place a second request until they’ve returned the specimen for the kit that they had requested.”

How long will this program last?

Persichilli said at this point the thinking is “we will keep the program operational as long as there’s a need. we do get federal funding to support the program, we work very closely with Vault to monitor inventory, help make operational decisions.”

(Edwin J. Torres for Governor’s Office).
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, (Edwin J. Torres for Governor’s Office).

How does this work?

She said once a state resident requests a test at learn.vaulthealth.com/nj/, the test is shipped out via UPS and it should arrive within 24 to 48 hours, the “the resident can connect with Vault via zoom, so a healthcare professional can actually observe the specimen collection.”

Once that’s been done the individual puts the specimen in the shipping container which is provided, and brings it to the nearest UPS drop-off location.

Persichilli said once Vault receives it, results will be delivered within 24 to 48 hours “however the processing rate certainly gets impacted right now by the holiday and impacted by demand, there’s great demand now.”

Make sure you go to the right webpage

She stressed New Jersey residents must request the test at learn.vaulthealth.com/nj/ to get the free test.

She said it’s important for New Jerseyans to get tested so not only can they take care of themselves and make sure “if they test positive that they are not exposing, perhaps members of their family or loved ones that are more vulnerable.”

Persichilli added it’s important to remember testing is just one part of the Health Department’s program to try and limit the spread of COVID.

“If you’re going to see a loved one and you don’t know what your status is, mask up, request a test, keep your mask on till you get the results of your test and then go see grandma,” she said.

She noted social distancing and frequent hand washing “are still extremely important activities to protect one another and each other.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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