ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Two more "drive-thru" coronavirus testing sites will open this week at Maryland Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program stations in Howard and Montgomery counties.
The state health department along with MDOT, state police and the Maryland National Guard will offer COVID-19 testing at VEIP sites at five locations this week.
They had previously opened testing sites in Bel Air, Glen Burnie and Waldorf. Now they will add a site in Columbia and White Oak.
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Symptomatic or high-risk patients can be tested on a by appointment basis and they must have an order from a healthcare provider in order to take the test. Once they are approved for a test, they will be given a code so they can be tested at a VEIP site.
"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.
Whether to open additional testing sites or extend hours will be determined based on demand and the availability of supplies.
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"With the exception of the site in Bel Air, each of the VEIP testing sites will use an online appointment process operated by CRISP, Maryland's health information system," the health department said in a statement. "The Bel Air site, which is staffed by professionals from University of Maryland Medical System Upper Chesapeake Health, will continue to use a scheduling process that requires physicians' offices to schedule appointments via a scheduling hotline. The Bel Air site will have administrative personnel from UM UCH on site to ensure the appropriate process is followed."
Once at the test site, patients will stay in their cars with the windows rolled up until it is time to receive their first test.
Testing requires a clinician to insert a single long q-tip into the back of the person's nostril for several seconds. Most individuals experience minor discomfort at most, the health department said.
"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 should be available within approximately seven days," according to the health department. "If symptoms worsen, patients should call a healthcare provider immediately. If a test comes back positive, patients must self-isolate for at least seven days from when their symptoms started or three days from the last fever, whichever is longer."
The public should note that the Prince George's County Health Department is running a similar but separate testing operation at FedEx Field. All patients accessing the FedEx Field testing site, including those with prescriptions from a doctor, must make an appointment through the Prince George's Health Department's COVID-19 hotline: 301-883-6627.
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