Governor Announces Nearly 20 New Swab & Send COVID Testing Sites
Getting tested for COVID-19 just got more accessible and efficient with the addition of 20 'Swab and Send' sites, in communities across the state.
The Mills' Administration announced the new sites during Tuesday's Maine CDC press briefing. The swab and send sites will be open to anyone who believes they may have COVID-19, or think they may have been exposed to the virus, with or without symptoms. These mobile sites will offer drive-up testing, in which a health care worker will take samples with test swabs, while the patient is still in their vehicle. Those swabs will then be sent away to a Maine lab to test them for COVID.
Seven health care organizations have partnered with the governor's administration to offer the drive-through, drive-up, and mobile specimen collection sites, in cooperation with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Everyone is eligible for testing, including residents, tourists, seasonal workers, and others. There's no charge and a referral from a medical professional is not needed.
"Expanding access to testing is critical to keeping COVID-19 infection rates in Maine relatively low,' said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew at Tuesday's press briefing. "Creating Maine-based testing capacity is especially important as national laboratories struggle to handle other states' surge of COVID-19 cases. It prevents the Maine State Lab from experiencing the shortages of testing supplies and re-agents that occurred early in the pandemic."
The current or proposed swab and send sites are:
- Bangor - Northern Light
- Brewer - PCHC
- Old Town - PCHC
- Augusta - MaineGeneral
- Portland - Northern Light
- South Portland - Northern Light
- Belfast - PCHC
- Ellsworth - Northern Light
- Blue Hill - Northern Light
- Dover-Foxcroft - Northern Light
- Presque Isle - Northern Light
- Calais - Calais Regional Hospital
- Greenville - Northern Light
- Waterville - Northern Light
- Pittsfield - Northern Light
- Bar Harbor - MDI Hospital
- Fort Kent - Northern Maine Medical Center
- Mobile site - Promerica Health
These 18 sites will complement the already 40 or more sites currently testing for the virus. Last month, the state's public and private labs conducted nearly 45,000 tests. As of July 13th, Maine ranked, on a population-adjusted basis, 6th lowest on cases, 5th lowest on hospitalizations of 36 states reporting them, 9th lowest on deaths, and 3rd highest on the percentage of people who have recovered out of 45 states reporting.