Abbott Laboratories says it is laying off most of the temporary workers at its COVID test manufacturing facility in Westbrook.

An Abbott spokesman would not disclose Thursday how many workers are affected, but did say none of the company’s permanent workers at the site is being laid off. The spokesman also declined to say how many permanent workers are at the Westbrook facility.

The Abbott Laboratories facility in Westbrook and another site in Scarborough both make COVID test kits. Photo courtesy of Abbott Laboratories

The laid-off workers will get 10 days’ pay as severance, the Chicago-based company said.

Abbott expects COVID to “transition to a more endemic, seasonal type of respiratory virus” and that means the demand for tests “is expected to decline significantly,” spokesman Scott Stoffel said.

Sales of Abbott’s COVID tests totaled $1.1 billion during the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to $2.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to financial results released Jan. 25. The company (NYSE: ABT) reported revenue of $43.1 billion in 2021 and employs around 110,000 people worldwide.

No changes are expected in the size of the permanent workforce in Westbrook, Stoffel emphasized, and the company expects some demand for COVID tests to continue as new variants of the disease emerge.

When the COVID pandemic spread across the United States in early 2020, Abbott bought a former sporting goods distribution center in Westbrook as a site to expand its test production and at one point said there could be as many as 1,200 workers at the location. The company also makes the tests at a facility in Scarborough.

But demand has been uneven as the virus surged and waned and new variants have come and gone. In mid-2021, the company laid off 400 workers at the two Maine locations.

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