ANNAPOLIS, MD–Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday announced that the state has reached a critical milestone, surpassing 200,000 COVID-19 tests and completing testing of 3.5 percent of the state’s population.
The state now has the capacity and supplies to offer testing to Marylanders who may have been exposed to the disease, even if they do not have symptoms.
With this progress, Governor Hogan has directed the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to make appointment-free COVID-19 testing available at community-based testing sites throughout the state. As part of this increased capacity, the state is establishing two new VEIP testing sites in Prince George’s County.
In addition, Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order authorizing the state’s hundreds of licensed pharmacists to directly order and administer COVID-19 tests.
“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 Governor 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.”
VEIP COVID-19 Testing
In March, state officials established Maryland’s first mass COVID-19 testing site at FedEx Field in Landover, which evolved to the Prince George’s County Health Department clinic in Cheverly. To further build on these efforts, the state is adding community-based testing sites at VEIP stations in Clinton and Hyattsville.
Appointment-Free COVID-19 Testing
Drive-thru, appointment-free testing will be available beginning on Thursday, May 21, at the Timonium Fairgrounds in Baltimore County and continue 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. Testing will become available at the Clinton VEIP site next week. People who suspect that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, even if they are not yet symptomatic, can access a test at one of these sites without a prior doctor’s order or a scheduled appointment. Testing will be provided at no out-of-pocket cost.
Authorizing Pharmacists to Administer COVID-19 Tests
Governor Hogan has issued an emergency order authorizing the state’s pharmacists to directly order COVID-19 tests. Additionally, the order authorizes pharmacies to collect specimens for COVID-19 tests onsite, provided that it is carried out safely by qualified personnel in accordance with all CDC guidance. Pharmacists must adhere to all test result reporting requirements. This order coincides with new federal guidelines expanding options to pay for pharmacists to offer COVID-19 tests for Medicare beneficiaries.