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Several Maine businesses ramp up production, hire workers in fight against COVID-19

From testing technology to protection for scientists, companies across the state are putting themselves at the forefront.

MAINE, Maine — While many Mainers have lost jobs in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, several companies in the state are seeing a surge in businesses and are looking to hire.

Abbott in Scarborough has gained worldwide attention for its revolutionary new rapid testing device. It turns out results for coronavirus, which often times take days to produce, in just minutes.

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The company has job openings listed online as it works to get more of the tests out to market.

Credit: Abbott

“They made the test, they got it FDA approved and on the market in no time and that's really impressive,” Agnieszka Carpenter with the trade group BioME said.

Another company, Enercon Technologies in Gray, is seeing a boost too, building electronic instruments and circuits for new diagnostic medical devices.

“We are looking to hire over 50 manufacturing operators, that we will train, to help us in the assembly of these relevant medical devices,” Janelle Oveson said.

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Enercon could not confirm exactly what devices it is producing, but said all of its new hiring efforts are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It's significant in a short amount of time,” Oveson said.

The Baker Company in Sanford is another business experiencing a rush in orders from hospitals and public health facilities nationwide.

Credit: NCM
The Baker Company

The company manufactures biological safety cabinets for scientists—often used for coronavirus testing. 

"Some of the test kits that are used--when a lab technician is actually analyzing the sample, they work inside the cabinet,” company president David Eagleson said. 

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The Baker Company is also seeking to hire on more people to help meet the growing demand.

“Our customers need us more than ever right now," Eagleson said.

All three companies are part of a growing life science industry in Maine.

According to BioME, the industry has seen at least a 14-percent increase over five years.

"They're manufacturing devices, reagents, tests and all of these tools that are being used to fight the disease,” Carpenter said. “The speed at which they're responding to the crisis is absolutely amazing."

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