Maine COVID-19 test backlog increases to 56,000

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 4:47 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The Maine Division of Disease Surveillance testing backlog of COVID cases has swelled to 56,000.

As a result, Maine is following other states and moving toward an automated system for processing tests.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said the sheer volume of cases from the Omicron variant lead to the decision to change course at this point.

He would not give a timeline on how long it would take for this system to be up and running but said it was an extensive undertaking.

The backlog of cases has led to artificially low numbers in Maine overall daily case count.

Shah says that is not a metric “of the moment,” but is among the pieces of information the federal government uses in allocating monoclonal antibody treatment doses.

DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew reports the Mills administration had to step in this week to clarify the state’s needs.

“We appreciate the fact that in presenting the information on Omicron and data issues with Omicron to our federal partners, they did adjust Maine’s allocation, so we feel as though our federal partners are listening. The pandemic has evolved, and we’re hoping that they modify their allocation formula to be aligned with other therapeutics moving forward,” said Lambrew.

Northern Light Health’s Head of Pharmacy noted on Wednesday they were experiencing a shortage of the treatments across their system.

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