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Pimlico Race Course parking lot to be used for drive-thru screening for coronavirus disease

A Pimlico Race Course parking lot will be used as a drive-thru COVID-19 screening site, Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced Friday.

The race track property, owned by The Stronach Group, was selected because of its accessibility, Young said in a news release.

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The Maryland National Guard is assisting with construction at the site, which does not yet have an opening date. Community-based screening will be done there once tests become more widely available, Young said.

The track is home to the historic Preakness Stakes, the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown. This year’s race has been postponed from May because of the pandemic, and has not been rescheduled. However, on Friday, The Stronach Group announced that the annual Preakness InfieldFest concert would not be held in 2020 — regardless of when the 145th Preakness race is run.

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During a news conference Friday, Young noted he visited the site earlier in the day. He thanked the race track’s owners for their cooperation with the city during a “critical” time.

First confirmed in Baltimore on March 15, the new coronavirus continues to spread at a rapid pace, as of Friday claiming the lives of 42 Maryland residents and sickening another 2,758.

To increase the ability for people to be tested, Maryland has opened drive-thru testing sites at Motor Vehicle Administration emissions stations in Bel Air, Glen Burnie and Waldorf. Another opened at FedEx Field in Landover. Testing at those sites is limited to those with orders from a health care provider and an appointment.

State protocol calls for testing of hospitalized patients with symptoms, and symptomatic people outside the hospital who are considered high risk, include those in nursing homes, in long-term care facilities or who have underlying health conditions. Medical personnel and first responders with symptoms also are being tested.

Those with mild symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to notify their doctor but isolate themselves and self-treat at home unless they start having trouble breathing.

Testing remains limited because the state, like others around the nation, continues to face a shortage of testing supplies.

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