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Retail rapid COVID tests becoming hard to find in Maine

Rising COVID cases are just one factor making rapid COVID testing kits scarce at Maine pharmacies

MAINE, USA — Retail rapid home COVID testing kits are hard to find right now in many Maine pharmacies. 

Several pharmacies are reporting the kits from Abbott and Ellume are out of stock. One pharmacist who didn't want to be identified told NEWS Maine customers are stocking up for fear of long waits for medical testing. 

With the surge in cases in Maine, all COVID testing is hard to find, according to Maine Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Nirav Shah. 

"Right now, supply remains a concern on the demand side. Things like healthcare facility outbreaks, which are 19 of our 33 outbreaks healthcare facility outbreaks, require frequent, repeated large-scale universal testing of staff and residents. That frequent repeated large-scale universal testing means that many of the laboratories in the state right now are focused on responding to outbreak testing," said Shah.


"We absolutely hear you and understand that we need more testing in the state. We are working and committed to making that happen," said Shah.

One retail pharmacy company is taking steps to keep tests in stock. 

CVS Pharmacy announced they were going to limit the amounts of test customers could buy at one time. In a statement released Wednesday, the company said:

In order to serve our customers’ OTC testing needs, and due to high demand, we’ve introduced this week product limits of (6) on cvs.com and (4) at CVS Pharmacy for the Abbott BinaxNOW and Ellume tests. We’re continuing to work with our suppliers to meet customer demand.

Shah said he hopes tests become more readily available. 

"We're working with the manufacturers of rapid tests to acquire as many of those tests as possible for the state of Maine."