Gov. Larry Hogan said today he is directing state health officials to to make appointment-free COVID-19 testing available at community-based testing sites, a step that would represent a major escalation of testing in Maryland.
Drive-thru, appointment-free testing will be available beginning Thursday, May 21, at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Baltimore County and continuing on Friday, May 22, at the Glen Burnie VEIP site in Anne Arundel County, as well as the Hyattsville VEIP station in Prince George’s County, Hogan said in a statement.
Maryland now has surpassed 200,000 tests and completed testing of 3.5 percent of the state’s population, Hogan said.
“Beginning this week, we are able to offer appointment-free COVID-19 testing across the state, including for those who do not have symptoms, marking a critical milestone in Maryland’s long-term testing strategy,” said Hogan. “This will help doctors diagnose and treat new cases more quickly, and it will further increase the safety of our state for all citizens. In addition, we are authorizing and actively encouraging the state’s hundreds of pharmacies to directly order and administer COVID-19 tests, another way we can make testing more widely available in our communities.”
In all, Maryland has conducted 208,658 tests, an amount equal to 3.5% of the state’s population, according to Hogan.
In the last month, nearly 141,000 tests have been conducted.
Hogan announced more than two weeks ago that his testing strategy would place an emphasis on high-priority outbreaks and clusters in nursing homes, poultry plants, health care workers and first responders at state facilities.
Hogan, in his release Tuesday, said those efforts are underway, giving the state the ability to expand testing.
Expanded testing is seen as a key necessity as states such as Maryland move to reopen.
As of Tuesday, the state reported 41,546 cases including 1,784 in the last 24 hours. Nearly 2,000 people have died because of the virus, including a 15-year old Baltimore County resident diagnosed with an inflammatory condition associated with the virus.
As part of the increased testing, Hogan announced the opening of two new testing facilities in Prince George’s County at state vehicle emissions testing stations in Clinton and Hyattsville.
On Tuesday, Prince George’s County reported 12,240 confirmed cases. The county has been the hardest hit of any jurisdiction in the state.
Last week, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced her county would not follow the state into phase one of a recovery plan announced by Hogan. Instead, she said, the county would continue to impose a stay-at-home order and keep non-essential businesses closed.
Alsobrooks called on the state to send more testing to her area so she could open two testing facilities in the northern and southern ends of the jurisdiction.
In addition, Hogan said he has issued an emergency order authorizing the state’s hundreds of licensed pharmacists to directly order and administer COVID-19 tests.