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Health

Janet Mills says Maine has purchased 250,000 rapid antigen tests

Virus Outbreak Maine
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP file
A health care worker deposits a vial containing a swab test into a bag at a mobile testing location for COVID-19, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Auburn, Maine.

Gov. Janet Mills announced on Friday that the state has purchased an additional 250,000 rapid antigen tests from Abbott Labs.

Her administration says it's among the largest purchases the state has made for rapid tests. Maine Health Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew says they'll be distributed this month and next to Walgreens pharmacies, schools, health care sites and congregate care settings.

"It means you go, maybe through a drive in. They will give you the swab in a test tube. You take the sample, you give it back and they give you the results, usually within an hour. It's called an administered test. It's not a take-home test. But it is free," she says.

Lambrew says the tests will be distributed throughout January and February starting next week.

Also next week, two new testing sites will open at the Augusta Armory and at the Cross Insurance Center in Portland. Westbrook Fire and Rescue is also expanding its testing.

Combined, Lambrew says that means more than 900 additional tests will be available per day.