An employee helps set up the COVID-19 swab-and-send testing site at Great Falls Plaza in Auburn on Thursday. The employee said the site will open at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Free test appointments can be scheduled at covidtestforme.com. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, state health officials and local health providers have rolled out some 50 testing locations throughout Maine.

As positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Maine, with record numbers being reported this week, officials have continued to expand testing sites.

The state announced Thursday that the first 10 drive-through testing sites at Walgreens pharmacies will open Friday, the same day Androscoggin County is getting its first “swab-and-send” testing site.

Androscoggin County reported 38 new cases Thursday. The latest death reported by state officials was a man in his 70s from Androscoggin County.

In Lewiston, the second-largest city in Maine, testing options have shifted since the beginning of the pandemic.

Last month, local legislators and officials at the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce pushed the state to develop a “swab-and-send” site in Androscoggin County.

This week, the state announced the new swab-and-send location at the Downtown Auburn Transportation Center in Great Falls Plaza.

Shanna Cox, president of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, said businesses were in need of a free and more reliable testing location in the region. Some tests can take a week to turn around, but “swab-and-send” tests are sent directly to the state’s lab in Augusta and results are typically known within 48 hours.

She said while the tests are free, “if you make an appointment with your doctor, there can be fees associated with the visit, even if the test is free,” which initially led to “some confusion and costs for employees of our members.”

Other locations in Lewiston include Central Maine Medical Center on Main Street and the CVS Pharmacy on Sabattus Street.

According to Dot Perham-Whitter, Lewiston’s communications manager, the public testing site formerly available at the B Street Health Center is no longer available.

“The overall demand was extremely high, and they decided they needed to focus on their own patients,” she said.

In Maine, a standing order stipulates that anyone in Maine over the age of 12 months who feels they need a test for COVID-19 may get a test at participating sites, without the need for a test order from their health care provider.

However, the state’s website says, “people are encouraged to contact their provider with concerns about COVID-19.”

In Auburn, testing is also available at St. Mary’s Urgent Care at 791 Turner St. and the CVS Pharmacy at 8 Union St.

Franklin and Oxford counties have one testing site each; both, in Farmington and Norway, respectively, are swab-and-send.

Here’s the full list of testing locations in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties:

LEWISTON

• Central Maine Medical Center, 287 Main St. No appointment necessary. Call ahead to check hours of availability (207) 786-1851

• CVS Pharmacy, 446 Sabattus St. Patients should make appointments on the CVS website.

AUBURN

• Downtown Auburn Transportation Center, 24 Great Falls Plaza. Androscoggin County’s only swab-and-send site, appointments are available five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The free tests will be available to anyone, regardless of symptoms, no referral needed. Appointments can be scheduled at covidtestforme.com.

• St. Mary’s Urgent Care, 791 Turner St. Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Call 207-330-3900 for more information.

• CVS Pharmacy, 8 Union St. Patients should make appointments on the CVS website.

FARMINGTON

• Franklin Community Health Network, 131 Franklin Health Commons. For swab-and-send testing, patients should call 207-779-2751. Offering testing Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.

NORWAY

• Western Maine Healthcare, 199 Main St. For swab-and-send testing, patients should call 207-393-3200.


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