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CDC: Maine Gets 26,000 Rapid Coronavirus Test Kits As The State Adds 28 New Cases

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
A Metro bus driver wears a mask to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus while while working on a rainy day, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in Portland, Maine.

The Maine CDC is reporting 28 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, and Cumberland, Somerset and York counties each account for about 20 percent of the new cases, says agency director Dr. Nirav Shah.

“And then about 12 percent of the new cases come from Kennebec County, and the remaining cases come from elsewhere across the state,” he says.

Shah says the CDC has also opened several new outbreak investigations. Four first responders associated with the Togus VA in Augusta have tested positive.

“Our initial investigation suggests that the primary connecting point for these four cases is the Togus campus, but we’re casting a broader net to determine whether there are other cases potentially associated with the VA health care system at this time,” he says.

There are also four cases at Coastal Ridge Elementary school in York, and five cases at the L.L.Bean distribution center in Freeport.

And an outbreak at the Meadows assisted living center in Greene has grown to 15 people.

Maine has received about 26,000 rapid antigen tests for the coronavirus, Shah says, part of a federal allocation that will total 400,000 tests by the end of the year. He says the rapid tests need to be distributed strategically because they aren’t as accurate as other diagnostic tests.

“One of the keys to using them will be in settings where individuals can be potentially retested on a number of occasions, so-called serial testing,” he says.

Quick, repeat testing can potentially catch and contain COVID-19 outbreaks. Shah says correctional facilities, homeless shelters, first responders and schools are likely to be the first recipients of the rapid tests in Maine.

Shah says schools will also likely be included.