Commercial backlog delays some Maine COVID-19 test results

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Despite the widespread availability of access to COVID-19 testing, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said some commercial testing sites are reporting longer waits for test results.

Robert Long, a spokesperson for the Maine CDC, said commercial sites are reporting longer wait times for results from some national, non-governmental labs they use to process samples.

Maine recently announced four new swab-and-send testing facilities, bringing the total number of sites to 22.

In large part, Long said, this is “because of increased sample volume to those non-governmental labs from states with higher case counts.”

Long said the Department of Health and Human Services continues to work with those collection sites to resolve problems with getting prompt results. He said the DHHS also continues to use “swab-and-send” sites to expand testing options in Maine for residents and visitors.

These sites offer free testing to people with or without symptoms and often allow a person to just drive through the site, usually with an appointment. Samples from these sites are sent to the Maine CDC’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory.

Gov. Janet Mills recently announced four new swab-and-send testing facilities, including one in Westbrook, bringing the total number of sites to 22.

“The Maine CDC lab continues to report results within 48 hours of receiving samples, and is adding capacity to accommodate the new ‘swab-and-send’ sites,” Long said.

On Monday, July 27, the CDC reported 18 new cases of COVID-19 statewide as of Sunday, down from 26 on Saturday, and no new deaths. The seven-day average of new cases was 21.9, compared with 20.3 on Monday, July 20.