Hundreds Make Lines for COVID-19 Testing in Maryland Amid Site Confusion

A Montgomery County health spokesperson said the testing sites at the source of the confusion were not being run by the county. 

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Hundreds of people stood in line at Lake Forest Mall in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the day after Christmas to get tested for COVID-19, but the day was not without confusion.  

Emily Eaglin and her family shared a video with News4 of hundreds of cars in line at the soccerplex in Germantown, where testing was supposed to be offered.

After waiting an hour and half, they learned that no testing was happening, even though it had been listed on the Montgomery County website.

"We realized that it was a ghost town,” Eaglin woman said. “Nobody was set up, but not only was nobody set up, nobody was there to tell folks like, ‘Hey, this is off.’ There was no communication about that, and it was very hard to find information online.”

News4's Darcy Spencer reports on the mad dash to find COVID-19 tests.

They had a similar experience earlier at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, which was also listed as a testing site on the day after Christmas. They lined up, only to find that the testing location had been moved to the mall, where there’s much more space and room for parking. 

"The line of cars was absolutely insane. There was nobody directing traffic, and then it turned out that we were all waiting in a bunch of long lines for absolutely nothing," Eaglin said.

Their story reflects the frustration of residents in the D.C. area, anxious to get tested after the holidays. With at-home test kits hard to find, many turned to testing sites, only to find no one there or very long waits.

A Montgomery County health spokesperson said these testing sites were not being run by the county and officials were working to figure out what had happened.

Other people who spoke to News4 said they got tested at Lake Forest Mall without an appointment after being possibly exposed to the virus. 

"We didn't have to make any appointments, we just came here and we waited almost two hours," one woman said.

Residents of all ages could be seen waiting outside the mall. For them, it was worth the wait to know if they have the virus. 

"It was fine, it's just a long wait," another woman said. "So it's at least a couple hours."

A county health spokesperson said that as supplies are limited and demand is high, you should consider going to urgent care if you need a test right away.

Those tested Sunday were told it would take three to five days for results.

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