Mills Administration Secures Major COVID-19 Testing Expansion for Maine 

State of Maine partners with IDEXX to more than triple its testing capacity 

Governor Janet Mills announced today that her Administration has secured a major expansion of COVID-19 testing for the State of Maine. The Administration has partnered with Maine-based IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. to purchase enough of the company’s recently authorized COVID-19 testing kits to more than triple the State’s testing capacity, to at least 5,000 tests per week for the foreseeable future. Currently, testing has primarily focused on healthcare workers, people who are hospitalized, and outbreaks in congregate settings. The breakthrough will soon allow anyone in Maine suspected of having COVID-19 to receive a test. 

“This changes everything,” Governor Mills said. “Now we are poised to more than triple the State’s testing capacity, remove testing barriers for health care providers, and make sure that anyone who needs a test can get one. On behalf of this Administration and on behalf of all the people of Maine, I thank IDEXX for their ingenuity, generosity, and partnership.”

Taken in combination with Maine CDC’s current capacity of 2,000 tests per week, the partnership with IDEXX more than triples the State of Maine’s testing capacity. These tests are in addition to those conducted for Maine residents by nongovernmental labs in and outside of the state. Additionally, IDEXX is loaning a testing instrument to the Maine CDC’s laboratory to help accommodate the higher testing volume and is generously donating enough test kits to conduct 3,500 tests. 

“This is a game changer,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. “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.”  

This significant expansion of testing will ultimately allow Maine CDC to eliminate its testing prioritization system, which most states have had to implement as a result of the limited national supply of testing materials. After testing with the new instrument and materials is operational, which is expected as early as the end of next week, health care providers in Maine will be able to seek testing for anyone they suspect of having COVID-19. This includes people with symptoms, as well as those who have had significant, close contact with a person with COVID-19, such as a spouse. The breakthrough will also allow the State to more fully implement universal testing in congregate care settings, such as nursing facilities and shelters. 

Even with this announcement, the Administration will continue its efforts to secure more testing. Maine CDC has also recently received testing supplies for its second King Fisher testing platform, which will further expand capacity. Additionally, the Mills Administration continues to press the Federal government to ensure that health care providers have a reliable and adequate supply of materials, such as swabs, to collect samples from patients for testing.