Mercer offering free at-home testing for COVID-19

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Mercer County New Jersey COVID 19 Update


TRENTON -- Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes today announced that County residents 14 years or older, and anyone employed as a first responder or health care worker  in Mercer, now can sign up to receive a free COVID-19 saliva test to be administered at home through a partnership between the County and Vault Health Services of New Jersey.

In addition, the County soon will begin offering COVID-19 testing at pop-up mobile sites that visit different municipalities, also in partnership with Vault Health Services.

The saliva collection test for COVID-19 has the same effectiveness as the nasal swab test. It is not an antibody test, but rather is designed to determine if an individual is currently infected with COVID-19 and has the potential to infect others. This test is performed under the supervision of a Vault healthcare provider through a video telehealth visit, eliminating the risk of person-to-person exposure to the virus.

“Testing for COVID-19 is necessary to identify and be able to isolate people with infections,” Mr. Hughes said. “We expected fall to be a critical period with the arrival of cooler weather, and we’re already seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases throughout much of the state. I encourage anyone who is symptomatic or thinks they may have been exposed to the virus to take advantage of this convenient option of testing at home.”

Individuals seeking a test should visit to register. You will be required to provide proof of residency or employment. After your eligibility is verified, you will receive a digital link to Vault’s webpage to request a county-funded test kit. The kit will be shipped overnight with instructions on how to schedule a Zoom telehealth meeting with a certified healthcare worker who will virtually instruct you about how to properly collect a saliva sample for shipment to the Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory for testing. Test results are expected to be returned within 72 hours. If your test is positive, or if you have symptoms, call your health care professional. Any questions can be directed to

When registering, individuals should have their health insurance card handy, but a lack of insurance will not prevent someone from using at-home COVID-19 testing. Federal rules require the collection of insurance information to support the testing program. Under federal law, all forms of public and private insurance must cover FDA-approved COVID-19 tests with no out-of-pocket costs to insured persons.

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The New Jersey Department of Health on Oct. 21 announced 1,062 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the cumulative total of positive cases in the state to 223,223; and 18 additional confirmed COVID-19 deaths, bringing the cumulative total to 14,456 confirmed deaths and 1,789 probable deaths. Mercer County's 25 new positive cases bring its cumulative total to 9,031, with 603 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 35 probable deaths. To view Mercer County data by municipality, please visit the Mercer County COVID-19 Dashboard at Please note that municipal data lags behind the state data and will update as information becomes available. Visit the New Jersey Department of Health's COVID-19 Dashboard  for more statewide information.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Oct. 21 announced 60,426 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the cumulative total of positive cases in the United States to 8,249,011; and 863 additional deaths, bringing the cumulative total to 220,362 with 55 locations (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, North Mariana Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands) reporting.


The NJ Poison Control Center and 211 have partnered with the State to provide information to the public on COVID-19:
Call: (general COVID-19 questions) 2-1-1 (24/7)
Call: (medical COVID-19 questions) 1-800-962-1253 (24/7)
Text: NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts
Visit or for additional information

Mask Up, Mercer!


COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). People who are infected but do not show symptoms can spread the virus to others.

To ensure the lowest chance of obtaining the virus, and spreading the virus to others:
Wear a face mask in public settings, especially when you can’t stay at least 6 feet away from others. Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others.
Practice social distancing.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow.
• Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

Symptoms can appear between 2-14 days after exposure, though some people may not have any symptoms while still being contagious. In addition to fever, cough and shortness of breath, symptoms can include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

If you believe you've been infected and you are not in immediate danger, you should contact your doctor by phone. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911, and notify the dispatch personnel that you may have COVID-19. COVID-19 Symptom Checker


Did you lose your job or have your hours reduced as a result of COVID-19? The State of New Jersey has created a resource page to help you connect to benefits and resources you need while you are trying to safely get back to work, as well as some tips for coping with the stress of losing a job: In addition, Mercer County’s One-Stop Career Center has posted a list of employment opportunities.


If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed due to COVID-19, please call New Jersey's MentalHealthCares Helpline at 866-202-HELP (4357) or visit for emotional support, guidance, and mental health referrals as needed. You also may call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (TTY 1-800-846-8517). Listing of additional resources.


If you receive a call from a scammer or suspect price gouging, please report it to the Division of Consumer Affairs at (973) 504-6240 or