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Meritus Health Collects COVID-19 Test #250,000; National Guard Offers Support to Drive-Thru Center

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In early March 2020, with no guidebooks or established best practices to emulate, local health experts envisioned a safe and effective way for those in the tristate area to receive a COVID-19 test. Nearly two years later, the 250,000th test has been performed by Meritus Health.

“We knew that testing would play an integral role in our response against COVID-19,” reflected Meritus Health’s President and CEO Maulik Joshi. “I could not have imagined in those early days how great the need would become, and would continue to be, nearly two years later.”

The teams at the Meritus COVID-19 Drive-Thru Screening Center on Crayton Boulevard have collected more than 80% of the 250,000 tests.

“To put the number 250,000 into perspective, roughly 150,000 people live in Washington County,” Joshi said. “You would be hard pressed to find more health systems in our nation that have provided more COVID-19 tests than the number of people served. For our health system to offer that volume of testing, since the onset of this pandemic, is just incredible. We committed to offer free, convenient testing when the pandemic began. To honor that commitment has meant countless hours of teams braving all weather conditions, coordination on many levels and an all-around strong dedication to the health of this community.”

This week, Meritus Health announced an updated traffic pattern to help ease the extreme volumes at the testing site during the past month. The updated route, which takes cars from Interstate 81 to Showalter Road, then around to Crayton Boulevard, can be found on a map on MeritusHealth.com in the COVID-19 resources section.

“In several recent instances, we’ve noted volumes of 1,000 cars at this location in just one day,” Joshi explained. “We knew this was creating a traffic backlog on surrounding roads, so we worked with our partners at the county and have identified a better way for people to safely wait in their cars for a test.”

Meritus Welcomes National Guard

Relief also arrived in another form this week, when about 20 Maryland National Guard soldiers were sent by Governor Larry Hogan to support testing operations at Meritus Health.

“We gratefully welcomed members of the National Guard to help augment and support operations at our testing location,” Joshi said. “We are so appreciative of their arrival and thank Governor Hogan for recognizing the need for resources during this recent surge of cases.”

The additional boots on the ground will help continue a mission Joshi said has not waivered, despite increased challenges, since day one.

“We wanted to make COVID-19 testing as easy as possible for anyone,” said Joshi. “This is a cornerstone of public health and no matter how many hours we have to stand outside, we will support this effort. Meritus Health employees who continue to care for the community are health care heroes.”

Testing at Meritus Health’s screening center at 13620 Crayton Blvd. does not require a doctor’s note; the patient does not have to show symptoms; and only insurance, not individuals, are charged.

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