One of the big hurdles facing Maryland is the lack of number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests available…Governor Larry Hogan only yesterday put this image on social media:

Those that know me well know that I am originally from Tennessee (I have resided in Maryland since the mid 90’s). Most of my family still resides in Tennessee. Due to those facts I keep an eye on what is happening back there in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak. An interesting article was published on April 15th by The Elk Valley Times (my hometown newspaper) that stated:

“Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced free COVID-19 testing will be available for any Tennessean, regardless of traditional symptoms, as the Unified-Command group ramps up an aggressive effort to expand testing capacity across the state.”

The article went on to state:

“Our clinical understanding of COVID-19 is changing rapidly and we need every Tennessean who isn’t feeling well, even outside of the traditional COVID-19 symptoms of cough, fever or difficulty breathing, to come out and get tested,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey.

The expanded testing effort launches this weekend, April 18-19, 2020, with the Tennessee National Guard popping up 15 drive-through testing sites across the state. Drive-through testing sites will also be available during the weekends of April 25-26 and May 2-3.

In addition to drive-through sites, all rural county health departments across the state offer free COVID-19 testing 5 days a week.

I grew up in multiple counties as a kid in Tennessee but I spent my junior high and high school years in Lincoln County. The Elk Valley Times reported on April 16th “Lincoln County COVID-19 free drive-through testing“:

Anyone with health concerns, or who has concerns about the health of a family member, is invited to come to the Lincoln County Health Department and be tested for COVID-19. The testing will be provided at no cost to participants, and those who come for testing can remain in their vehicles throughout the process.

Those articles from my hometown paper in Tennessee got me thinking…why does it appear that Tennessee has enough tests to offer that type of service to residents and Maryland does not yet?

Howard County (and many other areas across the state of Maryland) offers drive-thru testing but you can see the difference between Lincoln County Tennessee (see above) and Howard County Maryland in the post from Howard County Executive Calvin Ball (from back on April 7th):

Today, we began offering drive-through COVID-19 testing at the Columbia Emissions Testing Center for residents who are displaying symptoms, have a referral from their healthcare provider, and an appointment for testing. This testing center in Columbia is open for appointments only on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am – 2pm.

Understand this is not a dig at our Governor here in Maryland (I think Governor Hogan is doing a wonderful job) but just a question on my mind.

Some relevant stats for those interested:

  • Population of Tennessee: 6,829,174 | Maryland: 6,045,680
  • Square miles in Tennessee: 41,220 | Maryland: 9,775
  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tennessee: 7,070 | Maryland: 12,830
  • CODID-19 deaths in Tennessee: 148 | Maryland: 486

I understand every state is different…hence why I posted the relevant stats above to show how different Maryland and Tennessee are in population, land size and total Coronavirus cases to date.

I have not researched what every state is doing to date. I watch things closely here in Maryland and I keep an eye on things happening back in Tennessee. If you have thoughts or information on what other states are doing today…feel free to comment in the blog comments or on social media.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday that the state will unveil the Maryland Roadmap To Recovery Plan next week as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

‘The recovery plan that we have been developing over many weeks, has four building blocks that must be solidly in place before the lifting of restrictions,’ Hogan said.

Hogan said those building blocks are:

-Expanding COVID-19 testing capacity
-Increasing hospital [surge] capability
-Increasing supply of Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE)
-Continue a robust contact tracing operation

‘Our incredible team has been making significant progress on every one of these criteria, and early next week, we will be providing an update on much of that progress,’ Hogan said.

‘Later in the week, we will be introducing our Maryland Strong Roadmap to recovery in greater detail,’ Hogan added.”

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I look forward to the announcements this week from Governor Hogan. He has (in my opinion) made good decisions in order to protect the lives of Maryland residents throughout this outbreak. I have full confidence he will continue to do so going forward.

Stay Home. Save Lives.

Scott E