UPDATE: The list of VEIP locations available for testing has been expanded.
Original story below…
Baltimore, MD—The Maryland Department of Health, in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland National Guard, Maryland State Police, local health departments, and private partners, will begin offering drive-through COVID-19 testing to residents who are symptomatic and at high risk for complications from the disease.
The test sites, which will be open starting Wednesday, April 1 will be located at Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) sites in Glen Burnie in Anne Arundel County, Waldorf in Charles County, and Bel Air in Harford County.
“As the number of cases rise in Maryland, we are opening these sites to keep pace with the demand for testing. These sites are for residents who are symptomatic and in high risk categories for developing serious illness,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Like every other state in the nation, we simply do not have enough testing supplies. We need to use our resources wisely.”
To qualify for testing at a VEIP site, individuals must:
- Meet testing criteria as determined by a licensed healthcare provider.
- Obtain an order for testing from a healthcare provider.
- Register online and make an appointment at a test site.
“Right now, there is no vaccine and no treatment for this disease. We are focused on testing people who really need it and by using these sites, we can allow them to be tested away from busy emergency rooms, urgent care centers and physicians’ offices,” said Deputy Secretary of Public Health Fran Phillips. “People with no symptoms or who are mildly ill do not need testing. Most people who get this virus can recover at home with rest, fluids and over-the-counter fever reducers.”
In the weeks ahead, COVID-19 test sites and hours will be determined based on demand and the availability of supplies. Once individuals have a confirmed order from a healthcare provider, they will receive a unique code they can use to make an appointment at the closest available testing site.
Of the three sites that will become operational on Wednesday, MDH will operate the site in Glen Burnie, in conjunction with the Anne Arundel Health Department, and Waldorf, in conjunction with the Charles County Health Department. Both of these sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, in partnership with the Harford County Health Department, will operate the VEIP site in Bel Air, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The two MDH-run sites will use an appointment process operated by CRISP, Maryland’s health information system. The UM UCH site will continue to use the existing scheduling process that requires the physician practice to schedule appointments via a scheduling hotline. The site staffed by UM UCH will have administrative personnel on-site to ensure the lab order and patient appointment process is followed.
“We are proud to partner with Harford County’s Health Department and our area’s physician practices in order to support COVID-19 testing in our community. It is very important that we have a way to efficiently and safely begin the testing process for those who qualify and help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Lyle E. Sheldon, President/CEO of UM UCH.
At the test sites, individuals will remain in their vehicles with the windows rolled up until it is time to receive their test. Testing requires a clinician to insert a single long swab (Q-tip) into the back of the person’s nostril for several seconds. Most individuals experience minor discomfort at most.
All tested individuals will receive information with further instructions at the test site and should continue to self-isolate at home while waiting for results, which can take 4 to 5 days. If symptoms worsen, they should call a healthcare provider immediately. If a test comes back positive, patients must self-isolate for at least 7 days from when their symptoms started or 3 days from the last fever, whichever is longer.