TOMS RIVER — The one day closure of the office of the Ocean County Board of Elections after an employee tested positive will not slow the certification of votes by the Nov. 23 deadline.

County Administrator Carl Block told Townsquare Media News that he informed freeholders during their meeting on Tuesday night the office was closed for parts of Monday and Tuesday in order to clean and sanitize the building but was reopened Wednesday to continue counting ballots from the Nov. 3 election.

"The employee's family member who lives in the same house tested positive,"  although he was unaware of the positive test when he came to work on Friday, Block said. "We sent him home to get tested. He got tested and turned out to be positive. He still hasn't come back. We don't know what the timeline is for when he became positive."

As a precautionary measure, Block said all full-time, temporary and county employees helping with the ballot count were offered the opportunity to get a rapid COVID-19 test.

"We did have one or two test positive," Block said, adding that he suggested workers get the second nasal test at the county testing site to be sure. Employees who tested negative after the second test were allowed to return to work, Block said, and no additional positive results were reported.

Block said that he told the freeholders about the closure to address any concerns the vote count would delay certification of Ocean County's vote.

"That's why I made the statement. It's one day they were well on their way since we've been giving them an incredible amount of help. We're done the mail-in ballots Monday or at least checked them all in. They can't start doing the provisional ballots until Wednesday so they'll stay on schedule," Block said.

Mail-in ballots postmarked Nov. 3 had until Tuesday night at 8 p.m. to arrive at the election office.

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