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Md. Department of Health approved for coronavirus testing

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention image)

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention image)

The federal government has approved the Maryland Department of Health to test for the disease caused by the coronavirus, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday.

Until this approval, the state had been required to send its test samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Now Maryland’s State Public Health Laboratory can test for the COVID-19 disease itself.

“Our highest priority is keeping Marylanders safe, and having the capability to test quickly for potential COVID-19 cases is an important part of that,” Hogan said in a statement. “We want our citizens to know that all levels of government are working together proactively and taking every possible precaution to respond to threats of public health.”

The CDC has also broadened the test guidelines for the virus. Tests had been limited to patients with clear symptoms of infection who had either traveled to a geographic region of concern or who were in close contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

The testing criteria now include severely ill hospitalized patients with unexplained acute lower respiratory symptoms.

Maryland has had six tests returned negative for COVID-19. Another seven tests are currently pending, according to the Department of Health.

“The ability to test in our own facility in Baltimore is crucial to our rapid response efforts, which are at the forefront of Maryland’s strategy to minimize risk,” Robert R. Neall, the state health secretary, said in a statement. “We’re working with MDH laboratories to coordinate the use of these tests and will keep the public informed about cases and results.”

The CDC’s most recent numbers for the disease in the U.S. show more than 60 confirmed cases of the disease across 12 states. Six people have died, all in Washington state.

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One comment

  1. Lowell Nerenberg

    This surprised me, but it appears legitimate:
    Chest CT is faster and better at diagnosing COVID-19. Worth checking out, I think.
    CT provides best diagnosis for COVID-19-ScienceDaily
    ScienceDaily
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200226151951.htm
    (more detail using the URL)
    Date: February 26, 2020
    Source: Radiological Society of North America
    Summary: In a study of more than 1,000 patients published in the journal Radiology, chest CT outperformed lab testing in the diagnosis of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The researchers concluded that CT should be used as the primary screening tool for COVID-19.

    In a study of more than 1,000 patients published in the journal Radiology, chest CT outperformed lab testing in the diagnosis of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The researchers concluded that CT should be used as the primary screening tool for COVID-19.