- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 15, 2020

Montgomery County officials on Friday evening said they will look into new testing options after suspending the use of the Maryland jurisdiction’s largest supplier of COVID-19 tests due to concerns over the company’s testing and lab procedures.

More than 18,000 tests, or about 8% of the more than 251,000 total coronavirus tests administered to residents by Rockville, Md.-based AdvaGenix are now under scrutiny.

“My administration is already at work to rebuild our testing plan. I also want to remind the public that these tests were just a small part of the total tests occurring every day in our county. There are more than 25 community-based organizations providing tests every day,” County Executive Marc Elrich said in a statement.

On Thursday, the county announced that it was suspending testing at all of its government-operated clinics until further notice. The following testing sites administered the AdvaGenix tests:

  • PlumGar Recreation Center, Germantown, 19561 Scenery Drive in Germantown
  • Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Road in Silver Spring
  • Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Place in Silver Spring
  • Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Avenue in Takoma Park
  • Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center, 11701 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring
  • White Oak Community Recreation Center, 1700 April Lane in Silver Spring

County Health Officer Travis Gayles recommends that residents who have been tested in the past two weeks at government-funded clinics using the AdvaGenix tests get retested at another site. Residents with appointments at a clinic that’s suspended testing are being notified of the cancellations.

“We have continued to expand our county supported testing program and it has grown to an average of 5,000 tests weekly, with a combination of stationary and pop up sites, and different collection methods, including saliva based self-collection allowing for increased testing opportunities,” said Dr. Gayles. “When we were alerted that there were potential issues with one of the labs we used, we halted testing using this lab until further guidance could be provided. We will continue to explore other alternatives to bolster and grow our testing program.”

For the next month, the state will provide 5,000 kits each week while the county searches for other test suppliers. The county partnered with AdvaGenix in May in order to primarily test asymptomatic individuals such as frontline workers and nursing home staff and residents with oral swab tests.

Montgomery County officials will inform residents when more government-sponsored COVID-19 testing options are available. Residents can visit the state of Maryland’s testing locator page to find additional testing clinics.

Most private testing sites in Montgomery County are still operating, according to the county health department.

The county is still offering testing to symptomatic individuals through existing partnerships with other labs. Residents with symptoms can call the Testing Helpline at 240-777-1755 for more details.

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