National Guard steps in to help Meritus screening center, reduces wait times

Maryland

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Gov. Hogan announced national guard support at 10 hospital-based testing sites last week. Today, the national guard was in full effect at a local testing site in Washington County, which has been seeing a lot of backups lately.

The Meritus Health drive-through screening center has been in place since March of 2020.

If you notice this line isn’t as long as it has been where people have been waiting three hours or more in line to get a COVID test. But that’s because the national guard has been ordered, not just this COVID testing site, but in many throughout the state of Maryland.

The national guard is helping reduce wait times by helping with non-clinical tasks such as helping to register patients.

“What this helps us to do even more people and even faster,” said Maulik Joshi, president and CEO for Meritus Health.

One infantryman who was once a patient at this screening center said when he received a call to volunteer, he knew they needed help.

“I got a COVID test. I thought I was in contact with my family members during Christmastime that might have had it, so I came here to get COVID tested. When I got my results 15 minutes later, I got a call from my unit saying we’re looking for volunteers to come out and help,” said Daniel Marsh, an infantryman for the U.S. Army.

Meritus Health’s screening center is doing its 250,000th COVID test Wednesday.

“We’re seeing 900 cars a day now, almost 1,000 on some days and so getting through more (patients) quicker helps everybody in terms of knowing what to do next,” said Joshi.

Current hours of drive-thru screening are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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