By Robbie McKay Lincoln News • July 9, 2020
MILLINOCKET – As Maine opens up to visitors, the state has introduced the “Keep Maine Safe” campaign, designed as a multi-layered approach to protecting citizen of the state and visitors alike.
As some confusion has been expressed about this in the Katahdin region, Millinocket Regional Hospital is clearing up some misconceptions that might exist.
“These new guidelines have brought forth a number of questions from the community and we hope this will help bring some clarity around COVID-19 testing in the Katahdin Region,” said Katie Mackin, Marketing Director for MRH.
Mackin explained that there are currently two types of testing for the corona virus. The first, a viral test, checks samples from a person’s respiratory system to see if they are currently infected with Covid-19. The swab is sent away to a lab, and results are available within 24-72 hours. While waiting, people should act as if they have the virus, as it can take several days to manifest itself to a degree that it will be detected by testing.
Visitors from states other than New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Vermont are required to provide proof of virus testing within the 72 hours prior to their arrival in Maine. If this is not provided, they are to self-quarantine for 14 days. However, now there is another option for those coming to this area if they are asymptomatic.
Testing for asymptomatic persons with no known exposure is available through the MRH Walk-In Care clinic. The clinic, located at 87 Main Street in East Millinocket, is open Monday through Friday, 7am-7pm. Appointments are required, so please call ahead (207) 447-4700 to set up a time for testing. Physician referral is not required. The cost for this test is $75, and is reimbursable by insurance providers.
The second test is for antibodies and can be done at MRH; however, the test must be ordered by your primary care physician. It is also a service provided by the American Red Cross upon the completion of a successful blood donation. Mackin urged caution regarding the results of the antibody test.
” It can take the body 1-3 weeks after the infection to make antibodies,” said Mackin. “At this point, experts still do not have proof that COVID-19 antibodies can protect someone from getting infected with the virus again, or how long that protection might last. Research is being conducted to determine just that,” she said.
The State of Maine Centers for Disease Control encourages visitors to get tested and receive their test results in their home state before traveling to Maine. Individuals who wait to be tested in Maine must quarantine while awaiting the results.
About Millinocket Regional Hospital
Millinocket Regional Hospital (MRH) is a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital nestled at the base of Baxter State Park that provides vital healthcare services to those who live, work and play in the Katahdin Region. Beyond the friendly staff and award-winning patient care, MRH provides an impressive range of specialty and general services; with a recent expansion resulting in the addition of eight new specialties and a Walk-In Care facility. In 2018, MRH was awarded the Press Ganey ‘Guardian of Excellence Award’ for exceptional patient experience; a nationally-recognized symbol of achievement for hospitals who consistently perform within the top 5%. Providing jobs to approximately 250 people, MRH is the largest employer in the Katahdin Region and a crucial economic driver within its community. For more information, please visit www.mrhme.org or www.facebook.com/MillinocketRegionalHospital