Maryland’s COVID-19 testing strategy includes universal testing at correctional and juvenile facilities

Coronavirus

Gov. Hogan also made announcements on testing in nursing homes

A May Day basket hangs outside on Maryland Avenue in Annapolis, Md., Friday, May 1, 2020. The baskets, which are displayed outside of homes and businesses on the first day of May, are an annual tradition in Annapolis celebrating the arrival of spring. The tradition began 65 years ago by the Garden Club of Old Annapolis Towne. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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MARYLAND (WDVM) — The state of Maryland will start testing people for COVID-19 at all state-run correctional and juvenile facilities, Governor Larry Hogan said Wednesday.

The universal testing includes both incarcerated people and the staff working at these correctional facilities. A press release from the Governor’s Office said it is part of the state’s long-term testing strategy.

In line with this strategy, Hogan also said his administration is delivering over 20,000 tests per week to nursing homes. These long term care facilities proved to be a major area of concern for virus outbreaks, and the state eventually added testing, hospitalization and death data specific to individual nursing homes statewide to Maryland’s coronavirus website.

As of May 20, the state reports 2,474 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in long term care facility staff, and 12 confirmed virus-related deaths in staff. For care facility residents, the state has so far confirmed 5,847 COVID-19 cases and 1,123 virus-related deaths. “Distribution of tests to all 227 nursing home facilities in the state is on track to be completed by the end of next week,” the press release said.

To support local testing capabilities, Hogan also said the state is “distributing more than 33,000 additional swabs to local jurisdictions to help boost local testing capacity.” Washington County reports they have administered a total of 6,919 tests as of May 20. Montgomery County‘s website states “Right now, there is not enough available testing to offer testing to everyone and residents cannot order a test for themselves.” Specific testing data was also not available on Frederick County‘s website, but county executive Jan Gardner said on May 14 that the county has not yet ramped up testing for asymptomatic people, or all nursing homes. 

However, just one day ago Hogan said 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.” The state plans to introduce free testing at drive-thru sites in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and Prince George’s County.

“Our state continues to make significant progress on all four of the necessary building blocks for our recovery, including on our long-term strategy to dramatically expand testing for COVID-19 across the state,” Hogan said in Wednesday’s press release.

More information on testing in Maryland can be found at this link.

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