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June 30, 2020

UMaine System, JAX, ConvenientMD partner to provide COVID-19 testing

File photo This electron microscope image shows virus particles emerging from the surface of cells in a COVID-19 patient, in a test that was cultured by JAX scientists. The Bar Harbor-based laboratory will provide analysis of test samples for the UMaine System.

The University of Maine System has formed an agreement with Bar Harbor-based Jackson Laboratory and ConvenientMD, a New England chain of urgent care centers, to provide COVID-19 testing this fall at the seven UMS universities and the University of Maine School of Law.

Chancellor Dannel Malloy and University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy announced the agreement in a news release Tuesday. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Under the partnership, ConvenientMD — which is headquartered in New Hampshire, but has five locations in Maine — will administer tests at each campus, gather samples and report results. JAX will conduct scientific PCR analysis of the samples, looking for molecular signatures from the virus that causes COVID-19.

The testing will be offered throughout UMS and its communities, according to the release.

“Our partnership with the Jackson Laboratory and ConvenientMD, leaders in their respective sectors, will help our universities meet our commitments to student, faculty, staff, and community health this fall as we consider how to safely resume campus-based work and learning,” Malloy said.

Ferrini-Mundy added, “We know that one of our biggest community health challenges is that asymptomatic people can be transmitting the coronavirus for weeks. Our screening strategies will help us identify and isolate infection.”

The University of Maine System on July 1 will announce other plans and practices for the return of students this fall, according to the release. Earlier this month, Malloy and other leaders of Maine’s 38 colleges and universities announced a set of common guidelines for operating safely and responding to the pandemic in the 2020-21 academic year.

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