Baltimore County is looking to increase COVID-19 testing capacity with supplies from a medical technology company that is housed in its borders.
On Monday, the County announced an agreement with Sparks-based BD Integrated Diagnostic Solutions (BD IDS) to purchase testing and transport kits. The County will purchase up to 2,000 kits a week, including swabs and vials, with the first run already shipped. The samples will be processed through existing agreements the County has with LabCorp and Quest.
With a policy that allows residents to get tested even if they do not have a doctor’s referral, it’s a move in which the County is seeking to ensure testing supplies are available. A new testing site in Landsdowne also opened on Monday. With more than 7,500 cases, Baltimore County has the third-highest number of COVID-19 infections of any Maryland county, state data shows.
“Ensuring consistent access to testing is a critical component of our long-term fight against this deadly virus,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski in a statement. “We’re thankful that Baltimore County is able to partner with BD IDS, a business right here in our backyard, to secure testing materials that can be used immediately to enhance our response to COVID-19.”
Along with increasing testing during the pandemic, the news puts a spotlight on a global medical technology company’s local presence. BD IDS is part of prominent medical device company Becton, Dickinson and Company, which has had a presence in the County since 1954. In 2019, BD made the Sparks campus the headquarters for its IDS business, and now has 1,900 employees.
In April, a three-hour test for hospitals that BD IDS scientists developed with Alabama-based BioGX got emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and tests were being manufactured at the site, the Baltimore Sun reported. It’s one of the biotech anchors in the state that has jumped into the fight against COVID-19.