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Montgomery County Continues to Develop New Testing Plan After State Announces Formal Cease and Desist Directive and Order for AdvaGenix Laboratory

For Immediate Release: Friday, August 14, 2020

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced that the County will continue to pursue new testing options after the Maryland Department of Health issued a cease and desist directive and order to Rockville-based AdvaGenix, the largest current supplier of COVID-19 tests and lab analysis for the County government operated test sites.

On Thursday, Aug. 13 the County announced that it was suspending test at County-sponsored clinics until further notice. Testing at these clinics was designed to serve asymptomatic individuals, which was part of the County’s efforts to expand access to testing for residents.

The County continues to provide testing to symptomatic individuals using existing partnerships with other labs. Residents with symptoms should call the Testing Helpline at 240-777-1755 for more information.

Clinics using AdvaGenix tests were held at these locations:

  • PlumGar Recreation Center, Germantown, 19561 Scenery Dr. in Germantown

  • Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Rd. in Silver Spring

  • Silver Spring Civic Building, 1 Veterans Pl. in Silver Spring

  • Takoma Park Recreation Center, 7315 New Hampshire Ave. in Takoma Park

  • Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center, 11701 Georgia Ave in Silver Spring

  • White Oak Community Recreation Center, 1700 April Ln. in Silver Spring

The County contracted with AdvaGenix in late May to provide self-administered oral swab tests for testing frontline workers, nursing home staff and residents and the general public. Since then, more than 18,000 tests have been completed, which represents approximately 8 percent of the nearly 261,000 COVID-19 tests that have been administered to residents since the being of the pandemic. 

“Our focus now, and since the pandemic began is to ensure that our residents are as safe and healthy as possible,” said County Executive Elrich. “To get our community reopened and kept open, I have pushed hard to have broad-based, free testing for all residents. I am deeply disappointed with today’s news, but I remain committed to the goal of mass testing. 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.”

 “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.”

The State will provide 5,000 kits per week for the next month. In addition, the County is pursuing other suppliers to obtain tests that will enable testing to resume as soon as possible. 

Individuals who have been tested in the last two weeks through County-sponsored sites are advised to get additional testing to confirm their results. Because COVID-19 testing is a point in time test to determine presence of the virus at time of testing, others tested may also wish to be tested again. County officials generally advise residents to be periodically tested for presence of the virus.

Residents with appointments for any of the upcoming testing clinics are being notified of the cancellations.

In addition to County-sponsored testing, there are more than 25 testing options provided community-based organizations. The State’s testing locator enables a user to search by zip code, or type of testing (drive thru or walk up).

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Release ID: 20-441
Media Contact: Mary Anderson 240-777-6507