ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ) – The Harford County Health Department is setting up a COVID-19 testing site at Ripken Stadium in response to the increased public demand for tests that detect the virus.
Health officials plan to set up a drive-thru testing site in the parking lot of Leidos Field at 873 Long Drive in Aberdeen. The handicap-accessible test site will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting on Jan. 10, according to a Harford County Health Department press statement. The tests will be free to the public.READ MORE: BPD Officer Dragged By Car 2 Blocks Is Now In Fair Condition; 36-Year-Old Charged
“All individuals will receive two tests, one rapid antigen that will provide results in about 15 minutes and one PCR saliva test that will provide a confirmatory lab result within 24-48 hours,” the health department said. “Individuals are asked not to eat, drink, smoke, chew gum, or use oral products such as toothpaste and mouth rinse, or nasal gel products for at least 30 minutes prior to collecting the saliva specimen.
People will receive the results of the PCR tests via email.
Anyone who wishes to visit the testing site must bring their insurance card or, if they are uninsured, bring their government-issued identification document. Parents and legal guardians who wish to have their children tested must accompany their child and bring their insurance information. Everyone who wants a test must wear a face mask and remain in their cars, per the Harford County Health Department.READ MORE: Crime Without Punishment: Homicide Clearance Rates Are Declining Across The US. Baltimore's Is Down To 42%
Registration is not required at the test site and anyone can get tested, not just Harford County residents. On days when winter weather has created hazardous driving conditions, the test site will operate on the same schedule as Harford County Public Schools.
Harford County had few residents infected with COVID-19 in the months leading up to January, according to data collected by the New York Times. But by January, those numbers had increased by at least 700%, according to the data. The uptick in virus cases prompted Walmart to temporarily shutter the doors of its supercenter in Aberdeen so that its staff can sanitize it and restock the shelves.
The new test site is being stood up just as Maryland has entered a state of emergency due to the new wave of COVID-19 cases. Gov. Larry Hogan declared the public health emergency on Tuesday. He said his concerns stemmed from the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, which have increased by 500% over the past several weeks.MORE NEWS: Man Charged With Dragging Baltimore Officer Had Nearly 20 Prior Arrests
Additionally, Hogan signed a pair of executive orders—the first empowering the Maryland Department of Health to regulate hospital staffing and resources, and the second activating 1,000 Maryland National Guard members to shore up the state’s EMS ranks.