A drive up testing center for people showing symptoms of the coronavirus will open Friday in Bangor. But Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center Senior Vice President, Dr. James Jarvis, says the center will not be open to the general public. He told reporters Wednesday that the testing will be done on individuals who have symptoms that a medical professional determines raises the possibility of coronavirus infection.
"Testing patients who are asymptomatic has been shown to not be beneficial, and, in fact could do harm to the community, as individuals may feel they are safe now to go out and at-large when they are early in the process and may actually be infectious despite not having any symptoms."
Jarvis says the testing itself will take just seconds.
In the past, medical professionals took two swab samples, one from inside the nose and one from the back of the throat. He says experts have concluded that a second swab is not necessary. Dr. Jarvis said that will be helpful, both in preserving swabs and other test equipment, but also lessening the need for medical professionals to use some personal protective gear that is in short supply.
Northern Light has already opened a similar drive-thru coronavirus testing site on Mercy Hospital's Fore River campus in Portland.