Maine receives nearly $53M to expand coronavirus testing across state

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) The Mills administration announced Thursday that the state has received $52.7 million to expand coronavirus lab and testing capacity across Maine.

The money comes from a federal grant previously announced by Maine's Congressional delegation aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus.

In the short-term, the money will be used to upgrade the state lab in Augusta, including expanding lab and hiring more staff. The state said there are long-term plans to build a new lab, which broke ground prior to the outbreak.

Some of the money will also be used to increase lab capacity at rural hospitals and to create more drive-thru coronavirus testing sites in Maine. There are currently 38 testing sites outside of office settings, the state said.

The state is exploring options to partner with businesses and others to establish new so-called "swab and send" sites in Maine. This would allow primary care providers to recommend patients get testing in sites that are both accessible and safe.