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Drive-thru virus testing site set up at Chesapeake College

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CENTREVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Health Department opened a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills Friday, March 20, 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, said Beth Malasky, public information officer for the county, in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday, they tested 40 people from Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Talbot and Anne Arundel counties, she said.

Queen Anne’s County Health Officer Dr. Joseph Ciotola said the tests will be sent to various approved labs for processing, so Malasky was not able to predict when results would be available.

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 day went well.

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 reopen Monday for patients with prescriptions for testing and will continue to be open weekdays as long as supplies last, Malasky said.

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.

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.

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