CUMBERLAND — A Frostburg lab is offering COVID-19 testing to the general public.

Aeon Technologies, LLC, located on the campus of Frostburg State University, announced this week its partnership with the PharmaCare Network to offer daily COVID-19 screening, including drive-thru testing.

Dr. Kimberly Brown, who has received international recognition for her work with HIV, malaria and Ebola, opened the lab at FSU in June. 

“We are excited about expanding with PharmaCare to offer this to the public,” Brown said. “As a lab we process samples but Pharmacare, with their expertise and position in the community, they will be the organization that will actually take the samples and collect the specimens.”

PharmaCare operates numerous pharmacies in Allegany County and Mineral County, West Virginia.

“They are already working with nursing homes so they will provide the courier services to bring the samples to the lab as part of their normal process,” said Brown. “It makes our services and testing cost effective and allows to turn samples in some cases in the same day. This will be available if people have symptoms or a potential exposure or if they just want to know their status.”

The Allegany County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in August to accept Aeon Technologies’ bid to offer 200 tests per week for FSU students and staff. 

Beginning Oct. 1, members of the public can begin receiving the COVID-19 tests. Swabbing will be done by qualified nurses at PharmaCare’s corporate headquarters located at 3 Commerce Drive, Cumberland.

Participants will be able to drive through the testing site without the need to exit their vehicle, Brown said, and will be given the option for either nasal-pharyngeal or oral-pharyngeal swabbing. The laboratory processing will be conducted by Aeon, a CLIA certified and Maryland licensed laboratory. 

“The services that Kimberly Brown and her team have been able to bring to Western Maryland is unparalleled,” said PharmaCare President John Balch in a news release. “Dr. Brown is frequently traveling the world in the fight against HIV, Ebola and malaria. Now, she is growing a world-class laboratory in Frostburg. That is what makes this partnership so important to PharmaCare.”

The cost for testing will be $100, and PharmaCare will accept cash, check or credit cards at the time of swabbing. Results will be produced within 24-48 hours. Hours of availability will be 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m.-noon on Friday. 

“Each individual should check with their provider and their insurance carrier to determine if it is eligible for reimbursement,” said Brown. “Those things are constantly changing so people should check on it and get the most current information.”

Those wanting tested are encouraged to call ahead to obtain a same-day time slot. The number to call is 301-723-2440 and press 0. The testing does not take the place of medical care and any patient in acute distress should seek care from a health care provider.

Businesses interested in scheduling onsite testing of employees can email Dr. Bri LaVorgna, vice president of strategic development for Aeon Technologies, at blavorgna@aeontechlabs.com.

Brown said Aeon Technologies is in the process of expanding testing into nursing homes. Her lab is also increasing services to include testing for influenza and other common base screening.

Follow staff writer Greg Larry on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.

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