Skip to content

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: March 21, 2020 Press Conference

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: March 21, 2020 Press Conference

HAGERSTOWN, MD (March 21, 2020) – At a press conference today, Washington County GovernmentWashington County Health Department, and Meritus Health announced the first confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington County. The case is a woman in her 50’s who is in good condition with mild symptoms and is recovering at home. The Health Department is investigating this case with the help of the of the Maryland Department of Health. Communicable Disease nurses will identify contacts and advise them of any necessary actions to take. Information will be released as soon as possible if any risk to the public is identified.
While the potential risk of illness to the general public is still very low, many residents are concerned about testing for the COVID-19 virus. Here are answers to the most common questions:
1. How do I know if I should be tested?
If you start to experience symptoms, call your health care provider. The physician or practitioner will assess your symptoms, ask about your travel history and whether you have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. With that information, they will determine if diagnostic testing for the COVID-19 virus is appropriate. If your health care provider suspects COVID-19, they will coordinate testing with the local and state health departments.
2. How many tests have been administered in Washington County?
As of Saturday, March 21, 2020, 663 tests have been administered in Washington County. The tests have been sent to either the state’s department of health lab or commercial labs.
3. Where can I be tested?
Meritus Health has established a drive-thru screening center for patients who have been referred by their physicians to be screened or who have been directed to the drive-thru after calling the COVID-19 care line (301-790-9170).
  • This screening site has been established behind Meritus Medical Plaza located at 13620 Crayton Blvd., Hagerstown, Md. The drive-thru screening center is open from 7:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m. daily.
This coming week, Meritus will officially open two walk-thru screening centers in and near the city of Hagerstown. These will again be for patients directed to them by health care professionals to receive flu and COVID-19 testing. Locations and times will be announced by Meritus Health on their website and social media channels.
Meritus Health is currently working with a commercial laboratory for the COVID-19 testing. The estimated turnaround time for results is between five to seven days based on the commercial lab process.
4. Is there a COVID-19 home test?
There is no COVID-19 home test kit on the market for sale. People who suspect they have COVID-19 should contact their health care provider, who will determine if that patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and will determine whether patients will be referred for lab testing.
5. Will everyone need a test?
Regardless of whether people are tested, medical advice will remain the same; isolation and treating symptoms with fluids to reduce the risk of dehydration, medication to reduce a fever, and supplemental oxygen in more severe cases.
6. How can I get more information on COVID-19?
This is a rapidly changing situation, and information is being shared as it becomes available. Accurate COVID-19 information is critical to the community. For the most current and accurate information about the situation, please refer to the following:
7. How can I help prevent the spread of COVID-19?
We strongly encourage the community to continue preventive measures such as:
  • cover your coughs and sneezes
  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • avoid touching your face
  • clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily
  • stay at home if you are sick
Social distancing measures are paramount at this time. To reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, take these measures and recommendations seriously. These measures are strongly recommended, especially to vulnerable populations such as adults over sixty and those with pre-existing medical conditions. If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus like fever, cough and shortness of breath, contact a healthcare provider to discuss symptoms before going to urgent care or the emergency room unless it is a medical emergency.
8. How can I protect myself from COVID-19?
Click here to learn more about COVID-19 protective measures.
Washington County has been preparing for this possibility since February. Frontline staff is trained, dedicated, and working hard to ensure that information is released to the public in a timely manner. The information that is shared is factual, thoughtful, and comprehensively addresses the concerns that people may have. We will continue to provide updates and encourage you to visit the county website for additional information.
For additional information, please contact the Public Relations and Marketing Department at 240-313-2380 or pr@washco-md.net.
###

Other news:

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 3, 2020

The Washington County, Maryland Joint Information Center (JIC) provides the following update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to have Washington County daily briefings…
COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 2, 2020

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 2, 2020

The Washington County, Maryland Joint Information Center (JIC) provides the following update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to have Washington County daily briefings…
COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 1, 2020

COVID-19 Joint Information Center Update: April 1, 2020

The Washington County, Maryland Joint Information Center (JIC) provides the following update regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to have Washington County daily briefings…

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, DIRECTV and Antietam Cable Television have Points of Presence within the county. Washington County is well served and several options are available for broadband services. Resources to help your household find the right internet service plan include InternetProviders.com. Cellular telephone services are available through private local and regional vendors.