Nov. 18—The state's top public health officials are reminding Mainers that every household can order free, rapid COVID-19 tests and are encouraging people to stock up ahead of the holidays.
Maine households can get five free, at-home rapid tests mailed directly to them every month through Project Access COVID Tests — or Project ACT — a partnership between the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and The Rockefeller Foundation.
Project ACT has sent out nearly 855,000 tests — about 170,900 test kits — since the program launched in January.
"Testing, along with vaccination and other common-sense precautions, helps keep our families and communities safe during this season of travel and get-togethers," DHHS commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah said in a joint statement.
Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 300,228 cases of COVID-19 and 2,717 deaths as of Thursday. The case count only reflects lab-confirmed cases and it is likely an undercount with the now widespread availability of at-home testing. Maine's high vaccination rates coupled with asymptomatic cases means it is likely that many people did not realize they had contracted COVID.
Over the past couple of months, young children in particular have been hit hard by the spread of other respiratory viruses, such RSV and influenza. Maine has recorded over 430 lab-confirmed flu cases, 12 flu-associated hospitalizations and one flu-associated death so far this season, according to the Maine CDC's most recent weekly flu surveillance report. Over 200 new cases were recorded during the week ending Nov. 12 alone, according to the report.
To order a free COVID test kit, visit accesscovidtests.org.