Ten-million tests have been administered by the state since the pandemic began last year.
Baltimore, Md (KM). As of the end of last week, the Maryland Department of Health says it has administered 10-million COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began.
Jon Weinstein, Director of the Department’s COVID-19 Testing Task Force, says the state took a number steps to get residents tested. They included converting vehicle emissions testing sites into COVID testing locations, and supporting local health departments in setting testing facilities. “We started helping congregate facilities, particularly skilled nursing facilities, testing residents and staff as those folks were the most vulnerable as we learned early in the pandemic,” Weinstein says.
Even through vaccines are now available against COVID-19, Weinstein says testing is still important. He says the vaccines, while they help protect people against the virus, are not 100% effective. “In Maryland, we’re doing really well in probably among the top tier states in the terms of the percentage of our population that’s vaccinated. But there is a percentage of our population that is not vaccinated. And we want to make sure those folks–up until they get vaccinated–come and get tested,” he said.
If you show any symptoms of COVID, Weinstein it’s important to get tested. “The CDC and MDH still recommends if you’re vaccinated, if you have symptoms. you should get tested for that very reason,” says Weinstein.
Those who need a test can go on line to covidLINK.maryland.gov, and type in their zip code or address. They will receive information on the location of the nearest testing sites.
He says the testing procedure only involves a swab into the nose, but not all the way as earlier in the pandemic. Patients should know their results within 24 to 48 hours, closer to 24- hour period, Weinstein says.
He also says you don’t need a prescription to get a COVID test, and they are free of charge.
By Kevin McManus