The Maryland Department of Health converted two new emissions testing sites, one in Howard County and one in Montgomery County, to conduct drive-thru tests for the coronavirus.
In all, the state has turned five Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program buildings into drive-thru testing sites. The new locations in Columbia (6340 Woodside Court, #1071) and White Oak (2121 Industrial Parkway) join Bel Air in Harford County, Glen Burnie in Anne Arundel County, and Waldorf in Charles County.
The Prince George’s County Health Department is operating its own site in the parking lot of FedEx Field, and members of the Maryland National Guard have started constructing one in the parking lot of Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
“As the number of cases rise in Maryland, we are opening these sites to keep pace with the demand for testing. These sites are for residents who are symptomatic and in high risk categories for developing serious illness,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement. “Like every other state in the nation, we simply do not have enough testing supplies. We need to use our resources wisely.”
The state has more than 4,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to figures released Monday morning. Ninety-one Marylanders have died from the disease.
Appointments are required to be tested, and the health department is focusing its limited supply on people who are symptomatic and highly susceptible to COVID-19, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
Potential patients also have to receive an order from a health care provider in order to get a test.
With the exception of the Bel Air location, all the testing sites operated by the state health department will schedule appointments online using the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients, Maryland’s health information exchange.
The Bel Air site, which is being staffed by the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, requires physicians’ offices to use a hotline.
Marylanders who have an appointment are advised to keep their windows up at the VEIP site until it is time to get tested. The test involves a long Q-tip being inserted into the back of a patient’s nostril. Patients will receive additional information at the testing site and are advised to self-isolate until they receive results, which take about a week, the Maryland Department of Health said.
If symptoms worsen after the test, patients should contact their health care provider immediately.
Patients who test positive should self-isolate for at least seven days from when symptoms developed or three days from their last fever.
To date, 25,572 Marylanders have tested negative for coronavirus, according to Maryland Department of Health data.
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