The Mills administration has secured expanded testing for COVID-19, using technology developed by a Maine-based company.

Maine Public via Vimeo
Maine Public via Vimeo

Gov. Janet Mills said the testing kits will be purchased from IDEXX Laboratories. The recently authorized testing kits will more than triple the state's capabilities, which will make testing available to anyone suspected of having COVID-19, instead of just those who are considered "at risk." The governor sent her thanks to the company, during the Maine CDC's press briefing on Thursday.

"Acts like this demonstrate to us the heart of Maine's extraordinary companies and the power of public-private collaboration."

Dr. Nirav Shah says there's still more to be done before these tests can be implemented. But, once it's done, the CDC will lift the testing requirements, and make it available, not only to people who are symptomatic, but also to those people who have had significant, close contact with those people. Dr. Shah called it a "game changer."

"It will allow us to move to a next level of testing that is crucial to monitoring the public health implications of a phased reopening of Maine businesses and gathering places."

The preliminary set-up of the process is expected to be completed as early as the end of next week, at which time health care providers across Maine will have access to the tests.

Mills said the expanded testing is "crucial to our gradual restarting of the economy," as it will help the Maine CDC to better gauge the prevalence of the virus in the state, Mills said. The governor said to expect an announcement in the coming days about potentially adjusting the state's timetable for reopening the economy.

"We do expect to update the plan to restart the Maine economy very soon," Mills said.

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