Public Info

Union County to Receive 2022 NACo Achievement Award for First Proprietary County-Run COVID-19 Lab in the Nation

County distinguished with three awards in total for programming during 2021

national association of countiesUnion County will receive a 2022 NACo Achievement Award, acknowledging the groundbreaking partnership between the County and Kean University, forming the first proprietary, County and academic run COVID-19 testing lab in the nation. NACo – the National Association of Counties – has awarded Union County with three 2022 Achievement Awards in total.

“Since the onset of operations in January 2021, the Union County COVID-19 lab at Kean has, through genomic sequencing, identified every variant of the COVID-19 virus,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca L. Williams. “We continue to provide this valuable COVID-19 testing service to our residents and the Board of County Commissioners is proud that this trailblazing work is being acknowledged by NACo with a 2022 Achievement Award.”

Union County will receive a total of three awards at the 2022 Annual NACo Conference that is scheduled to take place July 21 through 24 in Adams County, Colorado. The following programs have been awarded with 2022 NACo Achievement Awards:

  • The Union County Testing Lab Partnership at Kean University – which expanded testing protocols at the first County and academic run lab in the nation to include detection of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. This lab is currently overseen by the Union County Department of Public Safety.
  • Union County Fresh Start Mobile Program – this program, the first of its kind in New Jersey, was launched to provide shower, laundry and restroom facilities to persons who are unhoused, along with guidance and resources on additional services that foster self-sufficiency. This ongoing program was developed by the Union County Department of Human Services.
  • The Pop-Up Parks Exhibits, celebrating 100 years of Union County Parks – which celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the Union County Parks system. The exhibit was on display at Warinanco Park, Oak Ridge Park, Rahway River Park, Conant Park, Nomahegan Park and Echo Lake Park. The program was run by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Union County runs dozens of programs every year and we are thrilled to have the work of several departments within our structure recognized,” said County Manager Edward Oatman. “These programs assist thousands of residents and enrich their lives in a myriad of ways. We strive to continue to be pioneers on various fronts and thank everyone within the County who worked toward these recognitions. We look forward to formally accepting these awards in July.”

The National Association of Counties (NACo) strengthens America’s counties, serving nearly 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million county employees.  Founded in 1935, NACo unites county officials to advocate county priorities in federal policymaking and promote exemplary county policies and practices. NACo’s work is also geared towards nurturing leadership skills and expanding knowledge networks while optimizing county and taxpayer resources while enriching the public’s understanding of county level government. For more information on the National Association of Counties, visit:

For more information about programs offered by Union County, please visit

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Union County COVID-19 Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at



For all Union County programs and services visit, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email or use the online Contact Form.


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