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Trump’s nursing home initiative brings 3 testing machines to Maine

Trump announced last month a plan to provide every nursing home in the country with a fast COVID-19 testing machine
A lab technician dips a sample into a testing machine. | Source: AP Photo / Carlos Osorio
A lab technician dips a sample into a testing machine. | Source: AP Photo / Carlos Osorio(KALB)
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 5:45 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Three nursing homes in Southern Maine will be among the first in the nation to receive a fast COVID-19 testing machine.

President Donald Trump announced last month a plan to provide every nursing home in the country with one.

But some doctors caution that these testing systems aren't the most reliable and cannot fully replace a more established testing method of sending samples to labs.

There also may not be enough test kits provided to check residents and staff beyond an initial couple of rounds.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said Wednesday at his COVID-19 briefing these machines work best after individuals start showing symptoms, not before.

“We’re starting to work with the facilities that we know will be receiving them to provide them that guidance. Otherwise there’s a possibility of inaccurate results. We’ve also heard concerns about the number of test kits that are being provided. That raises its own set of issues and concerns for us,” says Dr. Shah.

Dr. Shah says the Maine CDC is reaching out to facilities across the state to make sure, independent of theses testing machines, nursing homes have a plan in place to test their staff regularly.

White House Officials say the program is on track to deliver 2,400 fast-test machines and hundreds of thousands of test kits by mid-August.

The Associated Press reports there are roughly 15,400 nursing homes across the country.

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