(Camden, NJ) – Since launching its first testing site at Cooper’s Poynt Waterfront Park on April 1, the Camden County Freeholder Board and its health care partners have tested more than 4,200 residents for COVID-19 in the City of Camden.
Across the Board’s three Camden City testing sites, an average of 103 residents were tested through 41 testing days between April 1 and June 2. More than 1,600 of these residents utilized “walk-up” access to the sites, which was intended to serve residents lacking access to reliable transportation.
“The significant proportion of walk-up patients speaks to the importance of these sites and their locations throughout the city. Keeping our sites within walking distance granted many access to testing when they could not reach other drive-through locations,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “These sites served residents from all over the county, but hundreds of Camden City residents who otherwise would not have had access to testing were able to get tested thanks to the participation of our health care partners and the variety of ways to approach each location. The combination of this testing and the information distributed to residents onsite has undoubtedly helped to slow the spread in Camden City and throughout Camden County.”
Since the start of the pandemic, the Freeholder Board, along with partners Cooper University Health Care and Virtua Health, has operated three testing sites throughout the City. The first site opened along the Camden Waterfront on April 1 and performed 1,672 tests before operations were discontinued on May 1. Two additional sites on Mount Ephraim Avenue in South Camden and Dudley Grange Park in East Camden opened on April 29 and May 5, respectively. The South Camden site has performed 1,061 tests to date, while the site in East Camden has performed 1,499.
From the first day of testing, the Freeholder Board and its partners committed to an approach that would ensure no resident was turned away from the site without receiving service. More than 900 residents who were not tested received educational materials, tools like masks and hand sanitizer and in-person counseling regarding coronavirus, how to avoid contracting or spreading the disease, what supplies to stock up on, and where other resources were available for challenges including unemployment, food insecurity, and more.
“Testing is only part of the answer when someone asks us how we can stop the spread of coronavirus,” Cappelli said. “We need testing to understand the scope of the crisis on any given day, so we can isolate individuals that have already been infected. However, it is an absolute necessity that this testing be coupled with education that informs our residents on how to keep themselves safe moving forward if they’re not being tested or in the event that their test returns a negative result. For hundreds of residents to have gotten that information, in addition to those that we tested, means these sites have had an impact that goes far beyond the raw numbers of the exams that were performed.”
With the advent of asymptomatic testing by CAMCare and additional testing sites throughout the county, as well as the diminishing number of patients being seen at 2600 Mt. Ephraim Avenue, the Board will be shutting down the site at the close of business on Friday, June 5. The East Camden site will continue to test residents with a prescription from a health care provider and an appointment made by calling 856-968-7100 or 856-342-2881.