BATH, Maine (AP) — A strike at Bath Iron Works won't affect the company's delivery of machines needed to ramp up production of specialized swabs used for tests for the coronavirus, officials say.
Bath Iron Works completed the delivery Monday of 22 machines that Puritan Medical Products needs to expand production. The remaining eight machines will be delivered next month, the shipyard's spokesman David Hench said.
Bath Iron Works and Cianbro Corp. have partnered with Puritan to open a second facility to double production.
Puritan is one of only two companies that make the specialized swabs for coronavirus tests. The other is in Italy.
"Recognizing how essential COVID-19 testing is to keeping people safe and fully reopening the economy, BIW does not anticipate the current work stoppage will affect delivery of the machinery to Puritan so that the healthcare products company can fulfill its vital mission," Hench said.
More than 4,000 production workers went on strike Monday against the Navy shipbuilder.
Maine has had more than 2,900 cases of the virus and 102 deaths.
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic in Maine:
Another 23 people tested positive for the new coronavirus but there were no additional deaths in the past 24 hours, the Maine Center for Disease Control said Tuesday.
That brings to 2,994 the number of coronavirus case while the number of deaths remained unchanged at 102, the Maine CDC said.
Th coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Maine's Roman Catholic schools announced they will reopen this fall.
Classes will be held in-person and both before- and after-care programs at the schools also will reopen, said Marianne Pelletier, superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools.
"We are confident that our schools' health protocols and processes will keep our school environments as healthy and as safe as possible for all members of our communities," she said.
In March, all schools including parochial schools closed their doors due to the worldwide pandemic.
Officials in Maine's largest city said Tuesday that Portland will operate 11 polling locations on the July 14 primary, as per normal.
The primary day ballot will include statewide and municipal balloting. One of the biggest items on the ballot is the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. The winner will face Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
Portland officials said early in-person absentee voting is underway now during the City Clerk's office hours of 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
On the day of the primary, voters who normally vote at Portland Expo will instead vote at Troubh Ice Arena next door.
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