A Guilford company that makes specialized swabs for coronavirus testing is teaming up with construction company Cianbro and Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works to double production, officials said Thursday.

Puritan Medical Products in Guilford produces a million swabs a week for coronavirus testing. The swabs are long enough to reach through the nasal cavity to the upper part of the throat. Photo courtesy of Scott Wellman

The Trump administration is providing funding to Puritan Medical Products through the Defense Production Act to boost production.

Cianbro is providing a building in Pittsfield and help setting up the production line, and Bath Iron Works is making 30 machines Puritan needs to increase production, company officials said Thursday.

Puritan’s production will double to 40 million of the swabs per month through the partnership, said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

“Don’t think of a Q-tip. These are very sophisticated swabs. And they’re absolutely essential as we expand testing. And expanding testing is necessary for us to get back to a fully normal economy in which we can resume our lives,” said Collins, who spoke in Pittsfield after touring Puritan’s existing manufacturing plant in Guilford.

The effort will create as many as 150 jobs in Pittsfield on top of the 300 to 500 workers already employed by Puritan in Guilford, officials said.

The swabs that are produced by Puritan for coronavirus testing are longer than most swabs and have a synthetic material on the end. They’re used for nasal swabs for tests for the coronoavirus.

Puritan is one of two manufacturers in the world that make the specialized swabs in large numbers. The other is in Italy.

Maine Center for Disease Control director Nirav Shah said the state will begin receiving 15,000 swabs every week starting May 4. He said they could be from multiple manufacturers.

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