Maryland health department to open two new COVID-19 testing sites

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The Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program location in Prince Frederick, Maryland. Image via Google Street View.

The Maryland Department of Health this week is adding two new drive-through COVID-19 testing sites at Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program locations.

The new sites are in Owings Mills (11510 Cronridge Drive) in Baltimore County and Prince Frederick (1035 Prince Frederick Blvd.) in Calvert County. Baltimore County officials announced the Owings Mills site last week.

The state has now repurposed a total of seven Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program buildings to conduct tests for coronavirus. The Prince Frederick and Owings Mills locations will join five other testing sites in Bel Air (Harford County), Columbia (Howard County), Glen Burnie (Anne Arundel County), Waldorf (Charles County) and White Oak (Montgomery County).

Gov. Larry Hogan said the new testing site, coupled with the 500,000 test kits that Maryland procured from South Korea earlier this month, will bolster one of the four pillars of the “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” plan that he unveiled Friday: the expansion of the state’s testing capacity.

“Continuing to expand our testing capabilities even further in high-priority areas, including these drive-thru sites, is an essential part of our recovery plan,” Hogan said in a statement.

The 20678 ZIP code that the Prince Frederick site is located in has recorded 33 confirmed COVID-19 cases, a relatively low concentration. But that site is also located across the street from the Calvert County Health Department and medical center.

The Prince Frederick site joins the Waldorf location to serve patients in southern Maryland.

Individuals looking to get tested for COVID-19 should first consult a physician who can assess their symptoms.

Physicians who determine that their patient should be tested can schedule a testing appointment via telephone for the Bel Air location or online through the state’s health information exchange, Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP), for the other locations.

During their appointment, individuals will drive up to the testing site and remain in their vehicle with their windows rolled up. Once it is time for the individual to be tested, a clinician will insert a swab into the back of the patient’s nostril for several seconds, which causes “minor discomfort at most,” state officials said.

After being tested, individuals will receive after-care instructions and should continue to self-isolate at home while awaiting results. Results should be available within about two to five days, state officials said.

Various jurisdictions have set up their own testing locations as well, including Baltimore City sites at Pimlico Race Course and Druid Hill Park in West Baltimore and Clifton Park in East Baltimore; and Baltimore County locations at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium and the Liberty Family Resource Center in Randallstown.

Both the Randallstown and Owings Mills sites are located in a cluster of ZIP codes in western Baltimore County that have a large concentration of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

At least 19,487 Marylanders have tested positive for coronavirus and 85,489 have tested negative as of Monday morning, according to state figures. At least 858 Marylanders have died from the disease.

Marcus Dieterle

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