ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — On Tuesday, Governor Larry Hogan announced a major development in Maryland’s fight against COVID-19: The state will expand testing to patients without symptoms.
The first site offering tests to asymptomatic patients will be at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium on Thursday.
Drive-thru, appointment-free testing will be available beginning May 21 at the Timonium Fairgrounds and continue on May 22 at the Glen Burnie and Hyattsville VEIP stations. Testing will become available at the Clinton VEIP site next week.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) May 19, 2020
You do not need an appointment or a doctor’s order for the tests, and they will cost you nothing out of pocket.
On Friday, similar sites will open at VEIP car emissions facilities in Glen Burnie and Hyattsville.
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Leaders in hard-hit Prince George’s County have long been pushing for expanded testing.
“Testing. Testing. Testing. It’s been our focus since day one,” said Rep. Anthony Brown whose 4th Congressional District includes Prince George’s County.
The governor also signed an emergency executive order allowing pharmacists to order and administer tests at pharmacies statewide. You can read it by clicking right here.
Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger met this week with leaders of Emergent Biosolutions, which plans to manufacture millions of doses of vaccine candidates from their Baltimore facility.
“I’m just really, really concerned that once we do more testing, the numbers are going to go a lot higher. And I’m really concerned that we are not doing what we need to do as far as not understanding the basics of social distancing,” Rep. Ruppersberger said.
The AFSCME union representing state employees protested what they called a lack of personal protective gear and testing for frontline workers. The union called on the governor to do more to protect them—including at correctional facilities—which have seen cases rise to more than 300.
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) May 18, 2020
“He has a moral obligation to make sure that his own employees are working in safe and healthy working conditions. This is about health and safety. This is about leadership. This is about him doing his job. He’s failed on every single one of those counts,” Moran said.
— Maryland Department of Health (@MDHealthDept) May 19, 2020
The state health department said doctors can now order tests for patients without symptoms if they suspect those patients have been exposed to the novel coronavirus. Health officials laid out a priority list for who should receive the limited number of tests statewide.