Of the 1 million, 250,000 were immediately donated to childcare facilities so families can test regularly.
AUGUSTA, Maine – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is seeking ways to keep families with childcare needs stable should COVID-19 cases rise again.
DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew announced on Wednesday that her department had purchased 1 million covid tests over the counter, manufactured by Siemens.
From this purchase, 250,000 will immediately go to childcare facilities to give to families as part of a so-called “test to stay” program, Lambrew said.
Children who are close contacts can be tested regularly and stay in school.
“If a child is a close contact [with someone who tests positive], but a parent gives that child a test every other day, that child can go into childcare instead of being quarantined, which we know will help minimize job disruption for both employers and workers. But we also want to be prepared for the long run, “she said in an interview on Thursday.
As of Thursday, Maine is in one stable place with the virus. Wednesday’s positivity was 3.3 percent, with a seven-day average of 3.9 percent.
Meanwhile, almost half of all European countries have set spikes in cases over the past week. Trends in Europe have previously been an indicator of what is coming to the United States, but so far, cases here in Maine are still down.
Dr. Dora Mills of MaineHealth spoke to NEWS CENTER Maine about where the state stood when Maineers celebrated St. Partrick’s Day in widespread public gatherings for the first time in two years.
“It does not look right now that the hikes in Europe are almost as bad as they were there in the winter,” Mills said. “So even though we’re seeing an increase in the spring, it’s unlikely, from what one can tell right now, it’s unlikely to get nearly as bad.”
Mills encouraged Mainers to have fun, while positive cases remained rare.
“We have this time right now, which is a break, so go out and enjoy yourself with friends and family,” she continued. “But just know if prices go up, we have masks, we have vaccines, we’ve got treatment. We have a lot of tools that we did not have – many, many tools we had not had two years ago on St . Patrick’s Day. “
In a separate move, DHHS continues its investment in a pilot program called Project Access COVID-19 Tests (ACT), which will make 300,000 additional tests available to Mainers by mail.