ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday announced that Maryland’s State Public Health Laboratory has been approved for testing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
This means that, rather than waiting for test results from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labs in Atlanta, Georgia, people who are suspected to have COVID-19 may be diagnosed faster through the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) labs in Baltimore.
At this time, Maryland has no confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Additionally, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) held a planning workshop on Tuesdsay to review continuity of operations plans (COOP) across state government.
“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,” said Governor Hogan. “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.”
Until recently, the CDC guidelines for testing were 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.
Last week, the CDC expanded testing criteria to include severely ill hospitalized patients within unexplained acute lower respiratory symptoms.
“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,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “We’re working with MDH laboratories to coordinate the use of these tests and will keep the public informed about cases and results.”
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