ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the State of Maryland has completed its utilization of 500,000 LabGenomics COVID-19 test kits acquired from South Korea. Acquired in the spring through Operation Enduring Friendship, these tests have served as the backbone of the state’s long-term testing strategy.
Building on this success, LabGenomics announced earlier on Tuesday that it has entered into a separate agreement with CIAN Diagnostics—a clinical laboratory in Frederick—for the purchase of 1 million additional COVID-19 tests.
“These LabGenomics tests and these two companies will continue to save lives and make a real difference on the front lines here in our state,” said Governor Hogan. “We want to again thank the Republic of Korea and this great company, LabGenomics, for coming to our aid when we desperately needed it back in the dark days of this crisis.”
The State of Maryland utilized the LabGenomics tests at three separate labs, where the tests performed highly accurately and effectively with a quick turnaround time: the State Public Health Laboratory, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and CIAN Diagnostics. These tests were primarily utilized at the state’s community-based testing sites, as well as nursing homes, other congregate care settings, hotspots, and outbreaks.
In addition, the State of Maryland spearheaded the formation of a Bipartisan Interstate Testing Compact with the Rockefeller Foundation for the acquisition of rapid point-of-care antigen tests. Through this compact, Maryland successfully acquired 250,000 BD Veritor tests, and deployed them at nursing homes and congregate care settings across the state.
The State of Maryland has now conducted nearly 5.1 million COVID-19 tests, and continues to expand testing capacity during the COVID-19 surge. Last Saturday, the state announced a record 66,618 tests in a single day. Testing is widely available in Maryland without a doctor’s order, and more than 220 sites are available statewide.
Operation Enduring Friendship: Background
At the start of the pandemic, the State of Maryland had the capacity to conduct approximately 50 COVID-19 tests per day. The federal administration repeatedly made clear that the states would have to pursue their own additional testing capacity. Not only were states left on their own to figure it out, but they had to compete with one another for limited resources.
LabGenomics was one of a number ofcompanies on a list the state received from the Korean embassy and the Maryland congressional delegation. What then ensued wereweeks of vetting and negotiations between Maryland’s scientists and doctors, multiple state agencies, and counterparts in Korea.
In mid-April, the governor announced the acquisition of 500,000LabGun COVID-19 PCR test kits. The acquisition was equal to the total amount of testing that had been completed by four of the top five states in America combined. During the announcement, the governor said it was one of nine components the state would need to fully utilize the tests.
Upon determining inconsistencies between the initial test kits and the LabGun FDA Emergency Use Authorization,state health officials worked with LabGenomics to acquire better, faster tests. After those tests were successfully acquired, validated, and began to be utilized, the governor announced the upgrade. State health officials submitted the emergency procurements for review to the Board of Public Works, which unanimously provided its approval.
Over the summer, when many states were facing shortages and backlogs, this strategic stockpile of tests enabled Maryland to get results in 24 to 48 hours. During the fall surge, these tests met increased demand at our state-run community-based sites.