It’s the first state-run, drive-through site in western Maryland.
Hagerstown, Md (KM) A drive-through testing facility for patients with symptoms or high risk of contracting COVID-19 opened on Tuesday in Washington County. Health Officer Earl Stoner says the center located at 12100 Insurance Way in Hagerstown was once the local Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program site.
“It works by individuals who are symptomatic getting with their primary care physician and getting an order,”: he says. “They make an appointment. Then they come to the VEIP for their appointment and they’re tested.”
Stoner says the results will be sent to the patient’s doctor.
He also says this increase testing availability could lead to a jump in the number of coronavirus cases. “If you really start to looking at the number of cases, especially as we move forward and increase capacity for testing, there’s potential for that,” Stoner says. “And that’s why one of the reason we don’t want to lose sight of the number of new cases and the number of new infections. But we want to focus more on hospitalizations and the number of deaths.”
Stoner noted that the Governor wants to ramp up testing for the COVID-19 virus before taking any steps to reopen Maryland’s economy. “As we talk about reopening, one of the pillars of the Governor’s plan is an increase in robust testing. This site will augment what Meritus Medical Center is doing with their site,” he says.
Governor Larry Hogan has drafted a plan to gradually reopen the economy when it’s safe to do so. Stoner says opening up Maryland’s economy once again should be done cautiously “We need to be very careful when we reopen and how we reopen because we very could see increasing cases, increasing hospitalizations,”: he says.
The Center will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. But Stoner says that could expand in the future.
By Kevin McManus