Kennebunkport Public Health plans to continue  to provide coronavirus testing to residents with symptoms or exposure who request testing,  but told selectmen  they have enough tests remaining for about two or three weeks. Gregory Rec Photo/Portland Press Herald

KENNEBUNKPORT – The Kennebunkport Public Health Department administered 1,000 coronavirus tests from Oct. 30, 2020, through Sept. 23 and aims to continue testing this year, though test kits are not as readily available as they had been previously.

That is the word from Town Manager Laurie Smith and Kennebunkport Public Health Department Director Alison Kenneway. The two updated the board of selectmen at their Sept. 23 meeting.

Kenneway said kits have been ordered, but  as of the meeting date, were on backorder.

She estimated the department had enough tests on hand to provide two to three weeks’ worth. She said there has been an average of 10 daily requests.

Kennebunkport’s public health department uses rapid tests, acquired from Abbott Laboratories. Results take 15 minutes, she said.

“With delta (variant) there has been an uptick in testing,” said Kenneway. “There’s a lot of COVID in the area, so a lot of people are requesting tests.”


Selectmen Mike Weston asked about the number of positive cases among the 1,000 tests conducted over the year.

“There have been more negatives than positives here in town, but last couple of weeks, we’ve seen a lot more positives,” she said.

Board chair Sheila Matthews-Bull asked about testing criteria.

“We ask if they had exposure in their home, work or school, or if they are having symptoms,” said Kenneway. She said if someone has symptoms, or exposure, they qualify for testing.

She said the department is focusing on town residents or someone who is part of a business in Kennebunkport or in Lower Village.

She said if someone is looking for a test because they plan to travel, attend a concert or are just curious, Kennebunkport Public Health directs those individuals to pharmacies “because we really don’t have the kits available.”


Smith told selectmen that in 2020, the town was open to testing those in the school district, public safety officials and others because of the availability of grant money and Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements. The town also used some tax dollars to provide testing, she said, targeting local residents and businesses when using taxpayer funds.

During the March budget formulation process, the town earmarked $5,000 for testing for the fiscal year that began July 1, thinking less would be needed, Smith said. The public health department did have a $10,000 carryforward, and that long with the $5,000 budgeted will go toward test kits this year. She said the kits, which contain 24 tests, cost just under $1,000 each. The town signed a contract for 20 kits, or about $20,000, she said.

Kennebunkport asks for $25 per test, that generates a bit of revenue, even though each test costs $41, Smith explained.

Finding a test, especially one with a quick turnaround, is challenging right now, Smith said.

“Delta has amped things up, has turned things around, and the availability of test kits is really challenging,” Smith said. “We’re doing our best to provide (for) the community, but understand with these test kits, we don’t have any idea when they will show up.”

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