On October 21, 2020, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced that County residents 14 years or older, and anyone employed as a first responder or health care worker in Mercer, can now sign up to receive a free COVID-19 saliva test is to be administered at home through a partnership between the County and Vault Health Services of New Jersey.

“Testing for COVID-19 is necessary to identify and be able to isolate people with infections,” said Hughes. “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.”

The saliva collection test for COVID-19 offered through the county has the same effectiveness as the nasal swab test. This type of test is not an antibody test. It is designed to determine if an individual is currently infected with COVID-19 and has the potential to infect others. The test will be 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.

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

Individuals seeking a test should visit www.mercercares.org 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 HomeTesting@mercercounty.org.