Given the recent surge in demand for COVID-19 testing, on Friday, September 10, 2021 Northern Light Mercy Hospital will increase its COVID-19 testing site options by reopening the drive up testing facility located at the Hospital’s campus on Fore River Parkway, Portland.
The site, which will be open seven days a week from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm will be open to online and telephone (1-844-489-1822) registration. This is a “self-swab” site. Scheduling starts tomorrow, Thursday, September 9, 2021 according to a press release issued by Ed Gilman, at Northern Light Mercy Hospital, this morning.
Mercy currently has other testing facilities in the area. They are in: Gorham, open from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm; Windham, open from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm; and Westbrook, open from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm.
Meanwhile, this afternoon Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the MaineCDC held a press conference that was televised on public television. Dr. Shah acknowledged that he is aware that access to testing remains a challenge for many. “We hear you loud and clear,” he said. “We are working with institutions to make more testing available.” He stated that demand for testing has risen dramatically since the surge of the Delta variant here in Maine. Those who want to be tested may have to wait longer to get tested than they want and they may have to travel greater distances to get tested.
In opening remarks, Dr. Shah stated that 72% of Mainers have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Two out of every three Mainers have completed the vaccine process – which amounts to almost 900,000 people. Between Saturday and today 732 new cases of the COVID-19 have been identified in Maine. Hospitalizations are rising in the state, but there are still critical care beds available – 42 of them to be precise out of 328 in Maine.
Dr. Shah said that some Maine hospitals are delaying or postponing elective surgeries to accommodate COVID-19 patients. An example of that could be hip replacement surgery. That delay could exacerbate the situation for that person when surgery does finally occur. Contrary to some public comments, vaccines are not experimental. The Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA said Dr. Shah at the 2:00 pm press conference.
Weekly televised press conferences by the MaineCDC are being resumed according to Dr. Shah after having been discontinued earlier this year. They will be held on Wednesdays at 2:00 pm and are usually shown on Maine Public Television.