Mercer contracts with firm to provide COVID-19 testing
Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced that the County has contracted with Vault Medical Services of New Jersey to provide at-home and on-site COVID-19 testing services. A resolution authorizing the $357,500 contract, which is being funded by a State of New Jersey Coronavirus Relief Fund grant, was approved by the Board of Chosen Freeholders on Sept. 24.
Last month, Gov. Phil Murphy announced $37 million in support for Mercer and 11 other New Jersey counties that were not eligible for federal funding allocated through the CARES Act to combat COVID-19 because their populations are below 500,000. Under the state’s memorandum of agreement, each of the 12 counties was eligible to receive $357,500 to help them stand up and maintain COVID-19 testing sites.
Those counties also were eligible for varying amounts to go toward reimbursement for COVID-19 related expenses already incurred, and to support ongoing testing of vulnerable and high-risk populations. Mercer was eligible to receive a total of $4,031,833.
“We hope there isn’t a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall, but the funding the state is providing will enable us to re-establish a testing operation for our residents during what we expect will be a critical period as colder weather drives people indoors,” Mr. Hughes said.
Details of the COVID-19 testing process under the Vault contract have yet to be finalized, but they are likely to include both at-home saliva tests and pop-up sites at different locations around the County, Mr. Hughes said.
Mercer County operated both fixed and pop-up testing sites through April, May and June but did not receive outside funding for that initiative. About 6,900 tests were done at a cost of more than $1.5 million.