coronavirus

Montgomery Co. Halts COVID-19 Testing at All County-Sponsored Clinics

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Just a day after Montgomery County, Maryland, temporarily shut down COVID-19 testing at four sites, the county announced all of its testing sites will be closed until further notice after the state raised questions about protocols used with some test kits.

Anyone who was tested at a county-sponsored clinic in the past two weeks should be retested at another community-based clinic, the county said on its website.

"We will resume testing as soon as possible," the site says.

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In the meantime, anyone who has symptoms who needs help finding testing should call the Testing Helpline at 240-777-1755.

The shutdown comes after Maryland's department of health raised questions about protocols used with some test kits by AdvaGenix, which uses self-administered kits to collect saliva. These kits account for about 7% of all tests conducted in the county, adding up to hundreds every day. 

“The state health department has raised questions about the protocols of AdvaGenix, the company that does our testing,” County Executive Marc Elrich said Thursday. “We decided to halt testing that used those kits.” 

County officials say state officials did not tell them specifically what they object to about the test. The county said they stopped using them out of an abundance of caution.

Elrich and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced they are pursuing new testing options.

An anonymous tip suggested the need to test the effects of temperature on vials containing saliva samples. 

In an interview Friday, AdvaGenix CEO and owner Dr. William Kearns defended his testing, calling it as close to 100% accurate as it can be. 

He questioned whether a rival could be out to get him, hoping the county will switch to using different test kits. 

“You mentioned by reputation. How do I get that back?" he asked.

Montgomery County temporarily closed COVID-19 testing at four sites on Thursday after the state raised questions about protocols used with some test kits. The testing sites in Germantown, Poolesville, Silver Spring and White Oak will be closed through Saturday, County Executive Marc Elrich said. News4's Chris Gordon reports.

The company is based in Rockville.

On Thursday, the county had announced the testing sites in Germantown, Poolesville, Silver Spring and White Oak would temporarily close. 

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