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Drive-thru testing for coronavirus runs smoothly at Chesapeake College site

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CENTREVILLE — COVID-19 testing continues at the drive-thru site at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, set up Friday by the Queen Anne’s County Health Department to help take some of the pressure off local hospitals, specifically University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton and Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis.

On Wednesday, March 25 — 35 people were tested at the drive-thru site. On Monday, March 23 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. they tested another 21 individuals, and on Friday (the first day of being open), they tested 40 people from Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Talbot and Anne Arundel counties, said Beth Malasky.

Queen Anne’s County Health Officer Joseph A. Ciotola Jr., M.D., said the tests will be sent to various approved labs for processing, so Malasky was not able to predict when results would be available. As of press time none of those results are back yet.

While Queen Anne’s County has taken the lead, the testing site is intended to be multi-jurisdictional and the counties are collaborating with one another, she said.

Malasky said she heard from people working the site that the first few days of testing have gone smoothly.

She stressed the drive-thru site is not a drop-in site. Patients must be referred by their primary care physician for testing.

The Chesapeake College site will continue to be open weekdays for patients with prescriptions for testing as long as supplies last, Malasky said.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease of the lungs, Ciotola said. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. COVID-19 is spread by contact with an infected person, usually through coughing and sneezing or between people who are in close contact with one another (within six feet). It is also possible that a person can become infected by touching a surface or an object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose and possibly eyes. COVID-19 is a new virus in humans; most people have little or no immunity.

Guidelines on the state’s coronavirus information site recommend if you have a fever and are experiencing a cough or shortness of breath, call your health care provider. They will ask questions to determine whether you need a test. Not everyone needs to be tested. Stay home and avoid close contact with others if you are feeling ill, unless your doctor tells you to go for a test or come to the office for treatment.

To help limit exposures, no one should just show up at a testing site or emergency room. Call first. Answer the questions to determine if you should be tested. If you don’t have the virus, you don’t want to unnecessarily endanger exposing yourself; if you do have it, you need to minimize the risk of infecting others.

County residents are instructed to continue with social distancing and if you are having symptoms to contact your primary care physician. Persons who have been exposed to the virus have the potential to infect others before they display symptoms.

Health officials continue to recommend the following precautions to limit one’s exposure:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water.

• Cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• If you are sick, stay home and call your health care provider.

• Practice social distancing, which means keeping distance between yourself and others, avoiding crowds and avoiding handshaking and other intimate greetings.

Queen Anne’s County has set up an information line, 443-262-9900, where people can call and talk to a nurse with any questions they have about COVID-19. The information line is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Editor Hannah Combs contributed to this article.

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