A new partnership with IDEXX will permit Maine to more than triple its testing capabilities Governor Janet T. Mills,announced at the noon daily briefing of the MaineCDC today. It will allow in-state testing at the MaineCDC lab in Augusta which will reduce the turnaround time of testing results. This announcement followed approval by the FDA of the testing kits – received this morning.
Crucial to this testing expansion will be the availability of “reagents” from IDEXX – a substance necessary for testing to occur, but in drastically short supply nationwide according to the Governor. Key is the supply of reagents for the testing which has delayed the testing capacity of Maine and other states.
The Governor explained that the government purchased all of the Abbott testing equipment that became available and then distributed it unequally – not favoring Maine and rural areas in general. In numerous telephone conference calls with VP Pence and others, she and the governors repeatedly expressed the need for testing supplies.*
The impacts of this game changer are widely significant for the State of Maine. It will allow universal testing – such as in nursing homes, anyone with symptoms indicating the COVID-19 or anyone wanting testing will be able to obtain one when the preliminary steps are taken.Dr. Shah, director of the MaineCDC said this increased capacity will eliminate the “testing priority system” that currently exists. Currently, 300 tests a day are are conducted and this new partnership will permit 700 tests a day to be conducted according to the doctor. In other words, 5,000 tests per week will be conducted. This is not universal testing, but facilitates that end.Currently, MaineCDC is looking to hire experienced technicians to conduct the tests.
This partnership will also have a positive impact on the reopening of businesses in the state said the Governor. In fact, it has been one of her guiding principles in reopening the state – including an update on a plan to gradually and safely reopen restaurants – an update that could come still this week. Dr. Shah said that this partnership with the Maine based IDEXX has been anticipated for months and in discussions for weeks. It didn’t just pop-up over night; rather it was a well-conceived strategy.
On another matter, the doctor reported that Tyson Foods, Portland, has now completed it’s deep cleaning of the plant and is back up and running – but at a l/4 operating capacity. There was no report on the health of the 51 individuals who have been diagnosed with the dreaded coronavirus. Have any been hospitalized? Are any on ventilators? How many are quarantined? Are any considered recovered yet?
Governor Mills concluded the briefing with these words: “In years to come, we will look back at this time in our state’s history as sad – especially when we remember the family members and friends who passed away during the pandemic. But we will recall this moment as exciting. Especially if you’ve been following this situation closely,” she added. Mainers Helping Mainers.
In a separate matter, it was announced elsewhere this afternoon that Trumpy’s valet has tested positively for the COVID-19. He works closely with lawless Trumpy in the White House where it has been reported that no one wears face masks or coverings.
- According to a front page article in THE NEW YORK TIMES, dated May 6, 2020 dozens of inexperienced volunteers were recruited by Jared Kushner to sort through incoming leads to procure medical equipment. Volunteers were instructed to “prioritize tips from political allies and associates of President Trump, tracked on a spreadsheet called “VIP Update.”