PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The University of Maine System entered into partnerships with the nonprofit biomedical research institution The Jackson Laboratory and ConvenientMD to provide comprehensive coronavirus testing.

Under the agreement, ConvenientMD will establish testing sites on each campus, and samples will be tested by The Jackson Laboratory, Chancellor Dannel Malloy and University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy announced Tuesday.

The laboratory at Jackson Lab focused on complex tumor profiling assays to help cancer patients and their clinicians learn but has adapted during the pandemic to handle testing for COVID-19.

While a vaccine may be months away, the university system can take scientifically proven steps to protect campus communities, said UMaine professor Melissa Maginnis, a virologist who leads the UMS Scientific Advisory Board.

“Proactively identifying infected, asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus and isolating them while they are contagious is an important part of our university community health strategy,” she said.

Maine has had more than 3,200 cases of the virus.

In other coronavirus-related news:


Bates College announced Tuesday that students will be returning in the fall for classes.

President Clayton Spencer said the college will open for students in early September and will send them home before Thanksgiving. They’ll take finals remotely, then return in January.

The fall semester will be divided into two mini-semesters to limit disruptions if the virus causes another closure. Students who cannot return to the campus in Lewiston will have an opportunity to take classes remotely.

“We have adapted our academic calendar, our daily schedules, our teaching strategies, and every aspect of our operations to reduce the potential for spreading infection,” she wrote.



All inmates and staff at the Cumberland County Jail will wear masks until further notice because an inmate tested positive for the coronavirus.

The inmate, who was jailed Saturday, was taken to a medical unit and tested because of possible exposure to the virus. The positive test result was returned Monday night, officials said.

The inmate was being housed in a negative-pressure jail cell that's intended to protect others, and was expected to be released Tuesday, said Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon. The inmate was arrested by Westbrook police for criminal threatening and disorderly conduct, he said.

It's the latest coronavirus case involving a detention center.

Prisoners and staff were tested at the Maine Correctional Center after an inmate tested positive, and the same is happening at Long Creek Youth Development center in response to a confirmed case.



Independent Sen. Angus King said the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act represents a chance to combat coronavirus. The legislation would offer hazardous duty pay for service members who perform duties during the pandemic, he said. The legislation also authorizes $44 million for vaccine research.

King, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted Monday to move the authorization act to Senate debate.


Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.