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 September 24 by the Board of Chosen Freeholders (soon to be known as County Commissioners).

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.

Submitted by Mercer County

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