Beginning Nov. 2, Union County is introducing a free drive-thru COVID-19 test center at Kean University in Union Township.

This is the first site in the state to offer a new three-panel swab test for influenza and COVID-19. The test produces results for Influenza A, Influenza B and COVID-19 on the same swab.

Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella said the county knows that testing is the key to getting its arms around this virus. The more people who are educated and tested and understand whether they are exposed or not will hopefully lead the state in getting past this pandemic.

With the recent spike in coronavirus cases across New Jersey, he said the state needs to be a step ahead. The critical collision of COVID-19 and the regular seasonal flu can be a deadly combination for certain people, said Mirabella.

The three-panel swab test is for Union County residents only and for first responders and health care personnel from anywhere in the state.

The drive-thru test center will be open by appointment every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. No doctor referral is required. A person does not need to be experiencing symptoms either. Just show up in a car, get in line and get tested, said Mirabella.

The turnaround time for results is 48 hours but the county is hoping that by the end of the month, it will be a 24-hour turnaround result time.

All the testing will done and analyzed on the Kean University campus using students, faculty and health care professionals of Union County.

Mirabella expects to see a big demand for the COVID-Flu combo test. But he added that the county is ready for the amount of cars expected to come through on those designated days and times.

While he hopes people will come out to the campus to get tested, Mirabella said the county is offering mobile testing in the communities on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These are walk-up events, so no car is required.

Union County is also encouraging its residents to get the flu shot this season.

For upcoming dates and locations, visit www.ucnj.org/covid19.