Originally published in Castine Patriot, July 30, 2020 and Island Ad-Vantages, July 30, 2020 and The Weekly Packet, July 30, 2020
New COVID-19 testing site soon in Blue Hill
Five new cases in Hancock County
by Leslie Landrigan
A “swab and send” testing site will soon be up and running in Blue Hill, according to Northern Light Health Systems spokesperson Kelley Columber.
“We are currently working on the final operational and logistical details and hope to start offering these services in early August,” Columber said in an email on July 28.
Gov. Janet Mills announced the state is funding about two dozen of the swab-and-send sites around the state to increase testing for COVID-19. Fewer than 20 cases of the virus have been reported in Hancock County, one of the lowest rates in the state. But on July 28, an outbreak at a Hancock blueberry processing facility was reported by Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in a Zoom news conference. Five migrant workers tested positive for the disease, he said.
Seasonal farm workers are among those entitled to free testing at the swab-and-send sites under the governor’s standing order. So are hospitality workers, people who’ve attended large gatherings, people of color and visitors from states with a higher prevalence of COVID-10, according to the governor.
“Northern Light Health is looking forward to expanding testing to help meet the needs of the governor’s standing order for COVID-19 testing,” Columber said. People will still need to call 1-844-489-1822 to be screened and scheduled before arrival.