Maine CDC Chief Says State Ready To Ramp Up Testing For COVID-19

Mar 5, 2020

There have not been any reports of the new coronavirus in Maine. But the chief of Maine's Center for Disease Control, Nirav Shah, says the state will be ready to significantly ramp up testing for it by the end of the week.

"We will be able to do so and offer the test at the Maine CDC laboratory by the end of this week, if not even sooner," Shah says. "We recognize that the demand for the test and the volume of tests will continue to increase, and thus starting next week we're going to be turning up the dial even more to accommodate even more testing here at our laboratory in Augusta."

Federal authorities this week loosened standards allowing physicians to order the test. Shah says doctors should consider factors such as where a patient has traveled, the symptoms, and whether an individual has been tested for other illnesses that could rule out the new coronavirus.

Shah says the state will be able expand its testing capacity as needed.