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Test Kit Shortage Limiting Baltimore County's First COVID-19 Drive-Thru Test Site

John Lee


Baltimore County is to open its first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site Thursday. It will be at the Timonium Fairgrounds.

But the county can only offer it two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, because of the shortage of testing kits.

Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch says he hopes that down the road they will be able to test five to seven days a week.

“As we are able to get more testing kits, we will then really explode with our testing sites, and the number of people that we can test,” he said.

The Maryland Department of Health had recorded more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, 1,485 of them in Baltimore County, the third highest in the state. The county had 27 confirmed deaths. There are five additional “probable” COVID-19 deaths in the county.

Test kits still have to be rationed because of the ongoing shortage. Dr. Branch said based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, COVID-19 testing should be restricted to those who have symptoms and are either hospitalized, over the age of 60, have a chronic disease, have a history of travel, or are a health care worker.

“We really should be testing everybody who is symptomatic, everyone,” Dr. Branch said. “And so therefore at this particular time in the country, in the state and in the county we don’t have enough test kits to test everyone. I’m hoping and I’m praying that that’s going to change in the very near future.”

In a statement, County Executive Johnny Olszewski said, “Increasing testing capacity in Baltimore County is part of our comprehensive effort to keep our residents safe and healthy during the crisis.”

The Timonium drive-thru site is open from 11am-2 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays.

You have to have a medical order from a doctor and an appointment in order to get tested.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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