Western Md. drive-thru testing set to start today

Western Md. drive-thru testing set to start today

Members of the Maryland National Guard’s 200th Military Police Company direct drivers arriving at the Vehicle Emissions Inspections Program facility in Glen Burnie on March 30 for COVID-19 tests. The state is offering drive-thru tests by appointment only at eight VEIP facilities, including one that is scheduled to open Tuesday in Hagerstown. (Sgt. 1st Class Michael Davis Jr./U.S. Army)

The first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Western Maryland will open Tuesday at the Vehicle Emissions station in Hagerstown, Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday.

Hogan had said on Wednesday that Maryland would add more drive-thru testing sites as part of the state’s expanded testing strategy. Other priorities for testing include nursing homes, health care workers and first responders, the governor had said. Testing sites also would be added in Wicomico and Caroline counties to address outbreaks at poultry plants on the Delmarva Peninsula, he said at the time.

“With the tests we recently acquired from South Korea, Maryland continues to implement an expanded testing strategy,” Hogan said in a statement released Monday. “Drive-thru testing at Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program stations provides an easily accessible option for many citizens, and we now have the resources to continue to expand these sites throughout the state.”

The governor, with the assistance of first Lady Yumi Hogan, who was born in South Korea, said on April 20 that his administration had acquired 500,000 COVID-19 testing kits from two companies in that country.

With the addition of Hagerstown, there will be eight VEIP testing sites operated by the Maryland Department of Health in:

  • Bel Air (Harford County)
  • Columbia (Howard County)
  • Glen Burnie (Anne Arundel County)
  • Hagerstown (Washington County)
  • Owings Mill (Baltimore County)
  • Prince Frederick (Calvert County)
  • Waldorf (Charles County)
  • White Oak (Montgomery County).

To be tested at a VEIP site, residents must have an appointment that was scheduled through a health care provider. Residents who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and who are at high-risk for complications from the disease should call a physician if they want to be tested, the statement said. Residents cannot order or schedule their own tests.

The state Department of Health is operating VEIP testing sites in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland National Guard, Maryland State Police, local health departments and private partners.

In addition to the VEIP sites, more than 30 COVID-19 testing states are located throughout the state that are operated by local governments and private organizations. Residents must contact a physician to order a test before scheduling an appointment at those sites.

For more information about COVID-19 testing and a list of locations, go to coronavirus.maryland.gov. and click on the “Testing” tab.

The tests from South Korea arrived at Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport on April 18. However, it is unclear if those tests have started to be used.  A spokesperson for Hogan told MarylandReporter that the tests had to jump some regulatory hurdles before being used. “Once we validated the tests, and the FDA indicated we could begin to use them, we put into place the expanded testing strategy that the governor announced today,” Sharesse Churchill, the governor’s press secretary, said in an email on Wednesday. The governor told the Washington Post last week that the Maryland National Guard was protecting the tests because he feared the federal government might confiscate them.

About The Author

Regina Holmes

Managing Editor Regina Holmes (Regina@MarylandReporter.com) has worked as a journalist for 30 years. She was an assistant business editor at the Miami Herald and an assistant city editor at Newsday in New York City, where she helped supervise coverage of 9/11, anthrax attacks and the August 2003 Northeast Blackout, which darkened the entire city. As an assistant managing editor of the Baltimore Examiner, she helped launch the free tabloid in 2006. She was most recently the managing editor for Washington, D.C.-based Talk Media News, where she supervised digital, radio and video production of news reports for over 400 radio stations. She is a gtaduate of Vassar College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. If you have questions or comments, contact Regina at: Regina@MarylandReporter.com

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