Northern Light Health will open one of Maine’s first mass coronavirus vaccination clinics in the Bangor area, a top official with the provider said Tuesday, with the Cross Insurance Center among the likeliest sites.
In a Tuesday interview, Dr. James Jarvis, who leads the coronavirus response at Northern Light, said details were still being worked out and declined to say where the site would be other than in the Bangor area. But Bangor City Council Chair Dan Tremble said the city has been negotiating with Northern Light over the use of the civic center. While he did not know if a deal had been reached, he said it recently appeared to be close.
Jarvis said the site would be capable of administering 2,000 doses a day once fully operational and would be announced at a Wednesday news conference.
Bangor Public Health Director Patty Hamilton and a spokesperson for the arena did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It is one of the few facilities in the region that could accommodate such a large volume and there are no imminent plans to use facilities at the University of Maine in Orono as vaccine clinics, a university system official said.
It would be the second large clinic to be announced in Maine as the state begins to vaccinate older Mainers in earnest alongside health care and frontline workers. The developers of the recently closed Scarborough Downs last week announced a partnership with Portland-based Maine Health to stand up a clinic in two weeks that can vaccinate 1,000 people a day.
It is unclear how quickly the site could get up to full speed as the expansion of vaccines to the wider population of older Americans distribution has been dependent upon an uncertain federal supply of vaccines to the states. Weekly deliveries in Maine have hovered in the 17,000 range for weeks, though The Washington Post reported a possible 16 percent increase to states.
The Cross Center is one of two sites where Maine has the possibility of mobilizing a stand-up hospital meant to increase capacity if local hospitals are overwhelmed. Those units have never been used. Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah has recently said those stand-up sites could be used as vaccine clinics, but that he was wary of converting them because numbers of new cases and hospitalizations could rise.
BDN writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.