MARYLAND (WDVM) — A study has been underway in Maryland to learn how Marylanders have been exposed to COVID-19.
State health officials are conducting COVID-19 serology tests for professional and volunteer firefighters.
Serology testing uses a blood sample to look for COVID-19 antibodies.
“Our firefighters are on the front lines of emergency response, which greatly increases their risk of exposure to COVID-19,” said Governor Hogan in a press release. “Serology testing helps our health officials determine the prevalence of the virus, so we can have a better idea about how to prevent transmission and help protect our essential workforce.”
Frederick County and the City of Annapolis have submitted more than 650 samples, showing a 1.9 percent positivity rate among firefighters.
“We’re working closely with all of our local jurisdictions to continue to bring them into this initiative,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “More participation not only increases the reach of our study, but also provides valuable insight about the prevalence of COVID-19 among our first responders and the communities they serve.”
So far, the initiative is in seven areas across the state: Frederick, Prince George’s, Worcester Counties, Cities of Annapolis and Salisbury, Fort Detrick, and BWI Station.
“We have a lot of contact for folks that have been positive for COVID-19,” said Fire Chief Tom Coe, Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue. “It gives us a look at how our protective measures have helped to keep our staff safe and COVID free.”
Maryland Department of Health plans to expand the free anti-body testing to include all first responders in the future.
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