Governor Janet T. Mills announced yesterday that the State of Maine has now received $52.7 million in Federal grant funding from the US CDC to bolster epidemiological and lab capacity to respond to infectious diseases, particularly COVID-19. The State will use this funding to enhance its ability to prevent, detract and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Maine by expanding lab capacity and testing sits across Maine on the coming weeks and months.
“I am grateful to Maine’s Congressional Delegation for their advocacy on behalf of our state and people,” said Governor Mills. “As a result of this funding the State will expand our lab’s capacity, work with rural hospitals to enhance their testing capabilities and stand up drive-through testing sites across Maine. This work is still in the initial stages and will take time over the coming weeks and months, but it would not be possible without the partnership of the Congressional Delegation.” Governor Mills outlined the States three primary goals for the $52.7 million investment, including:
- Expanding the state’s lab capacity,
- Bolster rural hospital lab capacity, and
- Establishing drive-through testing-sites*.
The DHHS and the Maine CDC are in the initial planning stages and will unveil more detailed plans in the coming weeks. This funding builds on the Mills’ Administration with Idexx to expand testing in Maine and allowing for the elimination of the testing prioritization system so that health care providers can recommend testing for anyone they suspect of having COVID-19. As announced earlier this week, clinicians may now order tests for symptomatic people and people without symptoms who may be at risk for transmitting COVID-19 to others.
- Currently, Maine has 38 testing sites outside of office settings. The State is exploring options to find partners to establish drive-through “swab and send” sites in Maine. This would allow public care providers to recommend patients get testing in sites that are accessible and safe.