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COVID Surge, Testing Lines Continue Into New Year

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — COVID-19 cases are surging to unprecedented levels across the U.S. and in Maryland just as millions rings in the new year.

While the Maryland Department of Health paused COVID-19 reporting for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the latest numbers from Thursday show more than 14,316 new cases of the virus, a new single-day case increase record, while hospitalizations also reached a record total of 2,122.

Experts warn that the surge may still last for weeks.

The country broke its average daily COVID-19 case record this week with an average of over 355,000 infections reported every day this week according to Johns Hopkins University.

"Given the size of our country and the diversity of vaccination versus not vaccination that it likely will be more than a couple of weeks, probably by the end of January," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Getting tested for the virus has been a problem for Marylanders, many struggling to find available testing or waiting in long lines to get tested.

"We had two members of my family take a at-home rapid test and it came back positive and we have not been able to find more rapid tests," said Renee Sullivan of Annapolis.

A new testing site at Anne Arundel Medical Center was opened up on Friday by the Maryland Department of Health to try to meet the growing demand. But many said they had to wait for hours on Friday to get tested.

"This line wraps all the through this garage," said Chanda Anderson.

"The line was pretty long never saw the beginning of it, kind of stumbled upon the end of it," said Justin Magno.

A new testing site at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health in Bel Air was also opened by the state health department on Friday.

Both sites are scheduled to stay open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., seven days a week. Only walk-ups are accepted at the new testing sites.

Something else to note, while those sites are scheduled to stay open until 3 p.m., Anne Arundel Medical Center had to close its site early because of large crowds and officials are expecting something similar throughout the weekend.

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