ELKRIDGE, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a seventh mobile COVID-19 testing site with a drive-thru option or a walk-up clinic on a bus. The site is set up at the fire station on Rowanberry Drive in Elkridge, a community with one of the highest case rates in the county, according to Ball.
Howard County has seen a 300% increase in testing at mobile bus locations in November and December, the county executive said.READ MORE: Protests Continued In Maryland Saturday Over A SCOTUS Decision To Overturn Roe V. Wade
“The volume has been a challenge. It’s been a challenge on the front end with the staff we have here. It’s been a challenge on the backend with our laboratory services and operations,” said Dr. Arvind Narasimhan with FirstCall Urgent Group.
The FirstCall Urgent Group testing buses are deployed where there is a void. Locations are walkable and are placed along bus routes.
Earlier this week, Howard County added a COVID-19 testing site specifically for as many as 15,000 county employees and their families at the Roger Carter Community Center.READ MORE: Man Shot, Killed On South Hanover Street Saturday, Police Say
“This will help keep essential services open and will help relieve capacity at other testing sites,” said Ball.
Howard County is nearing a 30% positivity rate with about 200 cases per 100,000 residents, compared to a 3.6% positivity rate and 8 cases per 100,000 a month ago.
According to the Maryland Department of Health, approximately 14% of Howard County residents, including children younger than 4, are unvaccinated, said Ball.
As communities continue to expand testing availability, there is a persistent call from local and health leaders to get vaccinated against the virus.MORE NEWS: Volunteers Work To Beautify Baltimore, Improve Its Greenspaces
“Please complete that vaccination series. Get boosters as soon as possible. In this race of vaccine vs. variants, we can win and we must win,” Ball said.