A Frederick Health medical technician wearing protective gear administers a nasal COVID-19 test Friday at the drive-through screening and testing site across from the hospital on West Seventh Street. Daily testing began last week and continues daily from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The site has averaged about 100 cars each of the last few days, but only those that meet certain criteria are tested.

At least 630 samples have been taken to test for a new coronavirus in Frederick County.

But how close that 630 is to the total number of samples taken from Frederick County residents to be tested for SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is unknown.

The Maryland Department of Health and its local counterparts have continued to provide updates on how many new cases there are in the state and its 24 jurisdictions. As of 10:15 a.m. Thursday, there were 13 cases in Frederick County and 580 in the state. But neither the Frederick County Health Department nor Maryland Department of Health could say how many tests have been conducted.

In addition, the Frederick County Health Department could not say how many testing sites are in the county. Testing sites are not required to be registered with the department, said Frederick County Health Officer Barbara Brookmyer in an email.

While the health department has heard about medical offices testing, limited supplies hinder efforts to keep offering testing, Brookmyer said.

At least one physician’s office, one operated by Dr. Julio Menocal, is running tests on patients that meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, Menocal previously told The News-Post.

Frederick Health is operating a drive-through testing site on Toll House Avenue across from Frederick Health Hospital, as well as testing patients in the hospital. As of Thursday, they had run about 600 tests, with the majority of them done at the curbside site, said Kelsey Shupe, spokeswoman for the hospital.

No other Frederick Health office or facility is running tests, as far as he knows, said Dr. Manny Casiano, chief medical officer at Frederick Health Hospital, in an email. Centralizing the test site helps reduce confusion, he said.

Frederick Health monitors testing supplies daily, Casiano said. If it had to start rationing supplies for tests, it would follow the state’s prioritization mandate, which gives priorities to those in the hospital, health care professionals, first responders and those sick enough that a diagnosis would change their treatment.

“This number is constantly fluctuating, however we continue to have enough supplies to maintain curbside testing and provide testing to our inpatient and Emergency patients,” Casiano said in an email.

Frederick Health’s supply comes from multiple medical companies, Casiano said. Quest Diagnostics, which runs the tests for the health care system, replaces a test swab for each used one.

While the health care system can collect samples for testing, it cannot yet run the samples at Frederick Health Hospital, despite having the equipment, Casiano said. The hospital has not been able to get the chemicals that it needs to run the tests, although it would like to. Instead, it uses the state and commercial labs.

“Turnaround times for test results are unfortunately very long,” Casiano said in the email. “If we could get the supplies we need, we’d start testing in-house, with [about] 24-hour results, instead of the 5-9 days turnaround we’re currently experiencing.”

The state is actively working to get more supplies, Gov. Larry Hogan said at a press conference Wednesday. The state has requested 138,000 test kits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Those had not arrived as of Wednesday. It is not known if any of the kits will come to Frederick, Brookmyer said in her email.

It is not as simple as requesting test kits either, Hogan said, since there are multiple components, including the swabs and chemicals. Private laboratories do their own purchasing.

The governor said the state is taking inventory of what the laboratories around the state have and need. As of Wednesday, it was unknown how many test kits were available in Maryland.

“It’s much better than it was last week and nowhere near where it needs to be,” Hogan said in his press conference.

The state has also not said how many negative tests have come back. A directive from the Maryland secretary of health required labs to report weekly to the Maryland Department of Health how many negative and total number of tests it conducted.

The directive was signed three days ago, meaning laboratories might not have reported their weekly numbers yet. The numbers do not have to be reported to local health departments, Brookmyer said.

Hogan’s spokesman Mike Ricci tweeted that the state is working toward the point where the state would release the total number of people tested in the state, although he had no timetable.

Follow Heather Mongilio on Twitter: @HMongilio.

Heather Mongilio is the health and Fort Detrick reporter for the Frederick News-Post. She can be reached at hmongilio@newspost.com.

(25) comments



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When you go to Church on Easter Sunday, pray for the President and yourself please. You both need help. The President is Who is Said he is. And that an understatement.


This delay in test result is causing further community spread since they do not conduct the tracing until AFTER a positive test results. We are now on day 9 - how many people could have been notified they had been exposed (e.g. on the airline) and to shelter in place due to potentially being exposed - this spread due to testing delay are going to probably cause exponential increases in the spread.

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Alice Jones

patience with the sample has ended, nature. time for the adults to step in and put him back in his crib.

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I thought I understood that FCPA is testing at their offices.

dancing donna

The length it takes to receive the test results are hardly worth the test. The tested person will generally know the type of the illness in a week as symptoms regress or progress. Since there is no treatment, the only reason to test, is to rule in/out what IT is. If the cough is due to pneumonia not caused by COVID 19, then these people are out of luck and sent home. No one wants to see them in their office and they do not want to go to the ER for further exposures.


Progress is being made rapidly in the U.S. to improve the testing. Testing that allows much faster results and the ability to self administer.


If everyone could get tested every few days, then some places could re-open, and people who are infected but asymptomatic could isolate themselves and cut the infection rate. Also great if everyone could wear masks, but we are way short on masks and test kits. Govt should provide enormous incentives for companies to make them. This is going to last a while still and we need more than handouts to keep the economy from collapsing.


Yup, the main value of the testing is for statistical analysis and determining where infection loci are to help allocate resources - as nearly 20% of diagnosed patients are hospitalized - much higher than with flu, but still most likely that you just would need rest, liquids, and pain relievers. You only need to go to the hospital if you have trouble breathing.


I don't understand why they are bothering to test people who don't need to be hospitalized. Waste of everyone's time, and the PPE gear we are told is super scarce. It doesn't matter if you have it, if you don't need to be hospitalized you are told to stay home, rest and drink lots of fluids. Any prescriptions given are also a waste, because you have a virus one way or another. I've seen people getting steroids or a Z-pack of antibiotics, which is dumb.


Funshine - There is a difference between staying home and being quarantined. Even with someone at home, it is likely they are around other family members. If they test positive, they need to be isolated in their own room for 14 days or the entire family now gets it. Then we've got the risk of multiple people being hospitalized instead of just one. It's not a waste of anyone's time or supplies. And there is now evidence that certain types of medication can shorten the duration.


npr, if someone tests positive, and they have been in close contact with family members, and touched counters, tables, chairs, toilets, etc., what do you think the probability is of family members NOT also being positive? I'd say slim to none. If everyone did their best to avoid all contact if possible, there would be no targets for the virus to spread to, and the spread in disease would either slow down or halt. The reason the virus keeps spreading is that people are letting their guard down and not giving strict adherence to the guidance that has been in effect for well over a month now, as evidenced by the spread in NYC (epicenter in New Rochelle NY), New Orleans (not cancelling Mardi Gras parades), and of course the Spring Breakers ("if I get corona, I get corona bro, as long as I can still party"). That last guy should be the candidate for brain dead denier of the year.


If parents children can’t utilize public schools shouldn’t they receive a rebate on their taxes?


Help me out here...so after you take a test and you are clear...what happens if you get it the next day? Unless youa re getting daily tests its all for naught. Cheers


Only those who are having symptoms are tested. It tells them if the symptoms they are having are being caused by Covid-19, the flu, or something else like allergies or a common cold. The swabs are first tested for the flu, then sent out to be tested for Covid-19.


People who aren’t showing symptoms aren’t being tested because the infrastructure isn’t set up to handle that volume. But if it was, In wouldn’t be testing you (specifically) to find out if you (specifically) test positive but to test a representative number in your area to gather data as to where the virus is spreading. If you (specifically) tested positive you would be quarantined, separating you from others .That would be a containment strategy.


And as I asked you before aw, what does a negative test mean? Does it mean you stay that way forever? No. It means either you are free of the virus, or below the LOD at that time. If below the LOD, you may either develop into an asymptomatic carrier, develop mild symptoms, develop serious symptoms, or succumb. If free of the virus, it doesn't mean you will stay that way. It just gives the tester a false sense of security unless they stay home and avoid interacting with others. The cavalier attitude expressed by many is not helpful, and serves as an active conduit for transmission. The Governor was just on 98 Rock expressing his displeasure at people gathering in parks and holding private events, thumbing their noses at current state law.


“ It just gives the tester a false sense of security unless they stay home and avoid interacting with others.” I’m guess you mean “tested” not “tester”.

If we were able to do testing on a mass level in specific areas you could identify what areas are most active for the virus and what areas are most susceptible to spread. The point being to limit the spread. Yes, you would still be at risk unless you already had the virus and now are immune. According to Johns Hopkins one unidentified asymptomatic carrier can you spread the virus to 442 people in 30 days.

Gabe, I think we have the same understanding but are applying it differently. My understanding is that a test is being developed those that had the virus and now immune from those that haven’t and test negative .


Serologic testing



Yep, I know a lot about that aw, and spent some time in the serum-derived therapeutics arena. There is also work to use convalescent serum, containing high levels of antibodies to SARS-COV-2, as a therapy. These same Abs may be used in an ELISA test for detection of the virus in sputum samples.


Yep, in spite of the current lack of a national coordinated response, simply incompetence by Trump, most Governors are doing their best, a great job. It’s unfortunate they have to bid against each others for a lacking National response to the crisis, needed medical supplies, a national coordinated plan. This will too pass. Let’s hope what’s happening today isn’t a projection by a factor of 10, two weeks from now. Trump has now activated the “National Production Act”. But still rather then taking responsibility defaulting to blaming others.

I know you expressed you don’t support his actions.


aw, rather than blaming the president specifically, do you deny the herculean efforts of the dedicated professionals at CDC, NIH, NIAID, USAMRIID, etc? Do you understand what it takes to deliver goods on a national level? You just don't whip one up in an hour and send it out the door. In order for there to be an immediate response, these goods would have to be on the shelf, ready to go. No supplier does that, nor do they have the parts on hand to ramp up their production necessary to meet current demand. Do you understand supply chains? The respirators (ventilators) are made of hundreds of components, whose lead time may be weeks to months to receive, many coming from China. The respirators are FDA regulated Class II medical devices, as are the N95 masks. There are cGMP manufacturing regulations which must be followed. There usually isn't a huge demand for such equipment, and one manufacturer that was interviewed had a manufacturing capacity of 200 units per month. You keep complaining about the kits. Do you know what the kit contains? Please, quick, tell me what goes into a kit, and how much of each is needed for a minimum of 350 million kits, at minimum, to test everybody as you want to do. Tell me what additional equipment is needed to process those tests. Tell me how long the process time is, per test. I know, do you? By throwing your venom at the president, you are throwing it at those people behind the Trump dog and pony show. The people who have been at this since the Chinese government finally allowed access to samples and data. As you may recall, the Chinese government deliberately tried to deceive the WHO, and pretended that they had it under control. It wasn't. And by the time it got out of control in China, it was too late. China should have been immediately blockaded; nothing in, nothing out. But with today's mobile society, that wasn't about to happen. Once it got out of China, there was nothing that could be done. This was inevitable and predicted for a long, long time (decades). I have pointed this out to you many times, but tribalism rather than science keeps you attacking the President. He has little to nothing to do with anything. He is a figurehead, with no education, training, or experience in these matters. I'm beginning to wonder if you do.


Bingo, we have a winner



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