Maryland sets out to reach vulnerable communities for COVID testing


HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — While Maryland has had a relatively high vaccination rate, state officials are taking no chances and making sure that those who want a shot can get it.

With the weekend approaching, the Centers for Disease Control was in the Hagerstown area setting up a COVID-19 testing station at the Wal-Mart off Sharpsburg Pike. Health officials are targeting communities where testing and vaccination rates are not as high as medical experts believe they can be. Sixty percent of all Marylanders over the age of 18 have been vaccinated.

Jon Weinstein with the Maryland COVID-19 testing task force said, “We’re targeting areas that may not have had as direct access to testing. We’re looking at areas that may not have as high uptake in vaccinations, making sure we make this as accessible to them as possible.”

If you need an incentive beyond just staying healthy, the CDC Foundation is giving $10 VISA gift cards as a thank you for doing your part.

Chigo Oguh with the CDC Foundation said, “There are a few hot spots in Maryland and we’re trying to see if offering incentives will increase people to get tested.”

The CDC team here in Hagerstown hopes to test more than 300 people per day .

Weinstein said, “This is important because we just want to stop the spread of this disease, turn the corner which we are doing with vaccines.”

Among those 65 or older, 85 percent of Marylanders have been vaccinated. The Maryland region’s caseload has been slowly declining.

The CDC team is at the Walmart off Sharpsburg Pike through the weekend from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and next Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Governor Hogan has lifted capacity limits on outdoor and indoor dining, citing the improved COVID-19 metrics.

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