BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Maine is starting the week with more than a dozen outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools, and many schools are testing to mitigate the risk.
As of Friday, 384 of Maine’s 720 public and private schools had signed up for pool testing with Concentric, a branch of Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks, spokesperson Joseph Fridman told the Bangor Daily News.
The program calls for student tests to be pooled and sent to a lab in Massachusetts for PCR tests. If there’s a positive test for a school, then individual students will be tested.
The school outbreaks come amid a surge in infections tied to the delta variant, which is spreading in Maine.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 246 new cases per day on Aug. 28 to 349 new cases per day on Saturday.
In other pandemic-related news:
Two companies that manufacture COVID-19 testing supplies in Maine say they’re ready to step up to meet demand following the president’s vaccine and testing mandates for companies with more than 100 workers.
Puritan Medical Products makes swabs used for testing, and Abbott Laboratories makes test kits in Maine. Both furloughed or laid off workers before the surge in COVID-19 tied to the delta variant.
“We are monitoring the situation, and are ready to ramp up based on government orders as we did before,” Puritan said in a statement.
Abbott spokeswoman Kim Modory told the Portland Press Herald that the company’s Maine workforce “continues to deliver millions of rapid tests at a time when our country needs testing, particularly rapid testing, to manage this next phase of the pandemic.”
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