COVID-19 mass testing sites open in Annapolis, Bel Air amid increased demand

COVID-19 mass testing sites open in Annapolis, Bel Air amid increased demand

Their opening comes amid a recent surge of COVID-19 cases and a spike in demand for COVID-19 testing, while tests of any kind are nearly impossible to find.

The new testing clinic at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center was scheduled to open at 9 a.m., but officials said there were so many people waiting in line that it opened a half hour early.

The other testing site at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health in Bel Air also opened to very long lines.

Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead said 40 Maryland National Guard soldiers are providing staffing, logistics and security across both locations, which are offering walk-up only COVID-19 PCR testing seven days a week.

“So, clearly, there was a demand, and this was up and running in 48 hours — this and the one in Bel Air. So, (I) absolutely understood the need and absolutely adjusted to that, and here we are,” Birckhead said.

Some said they didn’t mind waiting when the alternative is waiting a week or more for an appointment.

“I got an appointment for Jan. 10, not here, but I got an appointment, and then I got off the internet. I’m tired of doing this,” said Ruth Long, 64, of Upper Marlboro.

Others called on the state to do more, like open Six Flags for testing.

“There is no reason that elderly and sick people should be standing in line for hours and hours. We are two years into this pandemic,” said Chanda Anderson, of Upper Marlboro. “We need a bigger response immediately.”

“There is no reason that elderly and sick people should be standing in line for hours and hours. We are two years into this pandemic,” said Chanda Anderson, of Upper Marlboro. “We need a bigger response immediately.”

According to the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland National Guard, both of the new locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

The sites will offer PCR lab tests only. Results for PCR tests generally take 24 to 48 hours, Testing at the sites is free of charge.

Source: WBAL