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Baltimore County will open first drive-thru coronavirus testing site at state fairgrounds Thursday

Baltimore County’s first drive-thru coronavirus testing clinic will open Thursday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, the county announced.

The clinic will test people who have a medical order from a health care provider, the county said in a news release. Once authorization is obtained, people must schedule an appointment using the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients, known as CRISP, which is the State-Designated Health Information Exchange.

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People who arrive at the site without an order from a health care provider or without an appointment will not be tested, the county said. Testing is planned for Tuesdays and Thursdays while test kits are available.

The fairgrounds can accommodate multiple lanes of vehicles at once, according to the county, and patients will not have to leave their vehicles during the testing process. Tested individuals will receive post-test instructions at the clinic and test results will be available within five to seven days.

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Providing a testing clinic at the state fairgrounds will allow for both “efficiency and safety” as the county responds to the pandemic, Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch said in a statement.

County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. called testing “a critical component” in their efforts “to help reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.”

“Increasing testing capacity in Baltimore County is part of our comprehensive effort to keep our residents safe and healthy during this crisis," Olszewski said in a statement.

Members of the Maryland National Guard are inside the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. Baltimore County will open its first drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic on Thursday at the fairground's main gate while tests are available. Tests will be offered to people with a medical order and by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Members of the Maryland National Guard are inside the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. Baltimore County will open its first drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic on Thursday at the fairground's main gate while tests are available. Tests will be offered to people with a medical order and by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.(Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore County’s announcement comes a day after Maryland saw its deadliest day of the pandemic so far. Maryland’s confirmed number of coronavirus cases exceeds 10,000 and the death toll is more than 400.

Maryland has been working to expand testing for the new coronavirus by collecting samples at several drive-thru sites opened over the last few weeks. Baltimore City, for instance, opened its first drive-thru testing center at the Pimlico Race Course last week.

People with mild COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged to notify their doctor, but they should isolate themselves and self-treat at home unless they start having trouble breathing. Health experts believe there are many more cases than those currently confirmed by testing.

Residents with questions or who need assistance can call the Baltimore County COVID-19 hotline seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 410-887-3816.

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