Advertisement

State to open more “Swab and Send” COVID-19 testing sites

Rockport and Farmington are among the new locations that will open next week.
Rockport and Farmington are among the new locations that will open next week.
Rockport and Farmington are among the new locations that will open next week.(KSFY)
Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 12:12 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Swab and send centers allow Mainers quicker access to COVID-19 test results, and make it possible for people to access testing within a moderate to short distance from their homes. The sites are able to receive, process, and report out results quickly.

Five more sites are now being added, making a total of 27 available around the state.

These 27 sites complement the roughly 40 current testing sites already available to the public.

Rockport and Farmington are among the new locations that will open next week.

Full statement from the Office of the Governor:

“The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and MaineHealth announced today the launch of five new “swab and send” COVID-19 testing sites, further expanding access to reliable and timely testing for Maine people and visitors.

The new MaineHealth sites in Damariscotta, Rockport, Brunswick, Norway, and Farmington will open next week. MaineHealth will begin accepting appointments today. These sites, in addition to the 22 previously announced, bring the statewide total of swab and send locations to 27, ensuring that approximately 90 percent of residents can now get tested within 30 minutes of their home.

“With these new sites, Maine continues to make progress in expanding access to testing so that those at risk of COVID-19 may take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their families, and other Maine people,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This important effort is crucial to mitigating the spread of this deadly virus and keeping Maine people safe and healthy.”

“Ensuring that people across Maine can protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities by getting tested when at risk of COVID-19 is critical to keeping the state’s infection rates low,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “We thank MaineHealth and all of the other health care organizations that have partnered with us to provide timely, accurate and affordable testing to protect Maine people and visitors alike.”

Joan Boomsma, MD, chief medical officer of MaineHealth, said expanding testing capacity is an important priority in combating the spread of COVID-19.

“We have prioritized fast, reliable testing for our patients throughout this pandemic,” Boomsma said. “Now, through our participation in this program, we can extend that commitment further into our communities.”

The sites will send samples to the Maine CDC's Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL) for testing and offer specimen collection free of charge to individuals who believe they may have COVID-19 or could have been exposed to the virus, with or without symptoms, as defined under the DHHS Standing Order.

The MaineHealth sites will operate as drive-through testing facilities. The Brunswick site, at Mid Coast-Parkview Health, will open on Monday, followed by the other four sites throughout next week. Appointments are required and may be made by phone. More information is available on MaineHealth’s website.

DHHS also announced that a mobile testing site operated by Promerica Health, first announced on July 14, will initially launch at the Maine Visitor Information Center in Kittery on Tuesday, August 25. Promerica will begin accepting appointments beginning this evening at covidtestforme.com. It will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, and from noon to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays through the end of August, with similar hours in September.

As part of the Administration’s expansion of testing capacity, DHHS formally invited organizations to establish “swab and send” sites across the state. The swab and send sites help Maine meet the primary goal of the $52.7 million of federal funding the Mills Administration announced in May: to enhance prevention, detection, and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 in Maine. The full list of current and proposed swab and send sites is below.

These 27 sites complement the roughly 40 current testing sites already available to the public. For a list of sites providing tests under the DHHS Standing Order, which includes all swab and send sites, visit the Keep Maine Healthy website.

Some of the organizations operating swab and send sites, as well as other organizations, are offering testing to their patients at additional sites as well. For a complete and frequently updated list of COVID-19 testing sites in Maine, visit Get-Tested-COVID19.org.

The 27 DHHS-sponsored swab and send sites are:

Augusta: MaineGeneral Bangor: Northern Light Bar Harbor: MDI Hospital (currently operational for frontline workforce testing for participating businesses) Belfast: Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) Blue Hill: Northern Light Brewer: PCHC Brunswick: MaineHealth (operational on August 24) Calais: Calais Regional Hospital Damariscotta: MaineHealth (operational on August 26) Dover-Foxcroft: Northern Light Ellsworth: Northern Light Farmington: MaineHealth (operational on August 27 ) Fort Kent: Northern Maine Medical Center Greenville: Northern Light Kittery: Promerica Health (mobile, operational on August 25) Lincoln: Penobscot Valley Hospital Norway: MaineHealth (operational on August 25 ) Old Town: PCHC Portland: Northern Light Pittsfield: Northern Light Presque Isle: Northern Light Rockport: MaineHealth (operational on August 27 ) Sanford: York County Community Action Corp./Nasson Health Care Skowhegan: Redington-Fairview General Hospital (operational in mid-September) South Portland: Northern Light (mobile) Waterville: Northern Light Westbrook: City of Westbrook

The Department is also separately supporting York Hospital in its drive-through point-of-care testing site which has been open since July 1, 2020.

Copyright 2020 WABI. All rights reserved.