County Ramping Up COVID-19 Testing Program

Montgomery County is ramping up its COVID-19 testing program and hopes to return to the number of tests it was performing before it lost one of its suppliers.

Before the state issued a cease and desist letter to AdvaGenix of Rockville, Montgomery County was performing between 1,100 and 1,500 tests per day, according to County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles. During the first two days of this week, it performed between 450 and 500 daily tests, he said.

AdvaGenix had been one of numerous COVID-19 test kit suppliers and lab analyzers. The county had used approximately 18,000 of their tests, according to a spokesperson with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

Walk in clinics, which require no appointments, have returned to being offered daily. Check the schedule here.

The number of people requesting testing is down, both county and statewide. Previously, between 25,000 and 30,000 people were tested in Maryland. Recently, only 12,000 to 18,000 are being tested daily, Gayles said.

“It is important that we continue to see our tests increase,” he said, noting that “robust, strong testing” is needed to control the spread of COVID-19.

AdvaGenix is striving to return to the state’s list of suppliers, according to a letter written by CEO William Kearns. In the letter, Kearns explained that his company “has completed and submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) an in-house specimen stability study.”

According to his letter, “Our study confirms that specimens are stable and are not adversely affected by the high temperatures that are common in Montgomery County during the summer. An additional review of local temperature data in Montgomery County from June 1 – August 16 revealed that daily high temperatures did not exceed the upper stability limit on any given day. Our preanalytical temperature stability study demonstrates that no saliva sample was compromised by excessive heat.”

The county will wait to see what the state Department of Health decides to do regarding AdvaGenix before deciding if it will use the Rockville company’s tests again, Gayles said Aug. 26 during a virtual briefing with members of the media.

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Suzanne Pollak

About Suzanne Pollak

Suzanne is a freelance reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She has over 35 years professional experience writing for newspapers, magazines, non-profit newsletters and the web.


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