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Walgreens' Belfast store now offers free testing for people with COVID-19 symptoms

Nov 20, 2020

Walgreens in Belfast is among the pharmacies now offering free drive-through rapid COVID-19 antigen testing to people experiencing symptoms of the virus, according to an announcement from Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

The store at 268 Main St. is among 52 new Walgreens testing sites across Maine now using Abbott's BinaxNOW rapid antigen point-of-care test. These sites join the 10 Walgreens locations that DHHS announced would open last Friday.

An additional three sites in southern Maine will come online with BinaxNOW next week, bringing the total to 65 locations. Appointments at all locations can be made by following the steps on Walgreens.com/COVID19Testing.

Through an agreement with DHHS, testing is available through Walgreens at no cost to people in Maine who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. As a result of increased demand for testing in recent days, appointment availability may vary by location.

"The expansion of free rapid antigen testing through Walgreens allows people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to quickly rule out this disease," said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. "The BinaxNOW tests offer one more layer of protection, but continuing to wear a face covering, avoiding large gatherings, and keeping our distance has never been more important.”

Rapid antigen COVID-19 testing is available at Walgreens by appointment to adults and children age 3 and older who meet screening criteria to receive a test. Walgreens patrons self-collect a sample with a nasal swab under the supervision of Walgreens staff and submit the sample through the drive-through window, with results available in as little as an hour.

People who test positive for COVID-19 through the BinaxNOW rapid test should immediately quarantine and seek a second standard PCR test to confirm the results.

This testing is available through DHHS' partnership with Walgreens to distribute approximately 300,000 Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen tests. The BinaxNOW test has been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for testing symptomatic individuals for COVID-19 within the first seven days of symptoms.

In total, Maine is receiving 400,000 BinaxNOW tests from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at no charge. DHHS is separately allocating 100,000 tests through an application process and has already distributed more than 35,000 of those tests to federally qualified health centers, shelters, schools, and other settings.

Since demand may exceed the available supply, DHHS will prioritize facilities that serve high-risk populations, high risk settings, and other settings where access to testing is otherwise limited.

While the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test is best used for people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, other types of testing are available in Maine to people who think they need a test, regardless of symptoms and without the need for a referral from a health provider. This testing is available at more than two dozen "swab and send" testing locations that offer molecular testing at no charge under separate agreements with DHHS.

In Belfast, free "swab and send" testing is available at Seaport Community Health Center, 53 Schoodic Drive.

Results from swab and send locations are provided by the State Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory within 48 hours of receipt at the lab (the time from the sample collection to the delivery of the result to the patient may take longer). For more information, visit the Keep Maine Healthy website.

 

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