Saliva testing for COVID-19 is expected to be available in Red Bank next week, the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey said Thursday.

The test, developed at Rutgers, is expected to help rapidly expand detection of the coronavirus-based illness.

Here’s an announcement from the nonprofit:

The recently FDA EUA cleared saliva tests for SARS CoV2, COVID-19 developed at Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR), in partnership with Accurate Diagnostic Labs is now available for new and existing patients of VNA of Central Jersey Community Health Center located in Asbury Park, effective immediately.

Next week, expanded accessibility to testing of patients with potential exposure to COVID-19 and experiencing symptoms will be available at the Health Center’s Freehold, Keyport and Red Bank locationsChristopher Rinn, CEO of VNACJ Community Health Center Inc., announced.

“Saliva tests are less intrusive than the deep nasal swab that have been widely used since the coronavirus pandemic broke out. They are safer for health care workers administering the procedure and they require less personal protective equipment than the deep nasal swab,” said Mr. Rinn. “The saliva is simply collected in a tube with an RNA preservative solution.”

“As testing expands across the state, it is vital that we prioritize vulnerable populations such as those served by New Jersey’s Federally Qualified Health Centers,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli.

Dr. Andrew Brooks, Professor of Genetics at Rutgers stated “The continued expansion and repeat testing using a saliva-based approach in the community will have a tremendous impact on making sure New Jersey is prepared to resume normal day activities.”

“We are thrilled to provide this important service to our patients throughout Monmouth County and to support Governor Murphy’s efforts to make testing more available so that we can reopen our New Jersey businesses and public spaces,” Rinn said. “We are proud that VNACJ is the first Federally Qualified Health Center in New Jersey, if not the nation, to provide these tests and we are grateful to our partners RUCD Rand Accurate Diagnostic Labs for their support of the communities we serve.”

Patients who are experiencing symptoms or fear they have been exposed to the coronavirus should schedule an appointment by calling the Health Center at 732-774-6333 or contact the team through their website.

As of Wednesday, state and Monmouth County officials reported 317 deaths and 5,907 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county. They included 139 cases in Red Bank.

Though county officials have not reported deaths by town, at least 12 residents or employees of Red Bank longterm care facilities have died, according to the New Jersey health department. They are among the 6,770 New Jersey residents whose deaths have been caused by or are associated with the disease, the agency reported Wednesday.