Signage at the Bass Park coronavirus testing site in Bangor. Credit: Natalie Williams | BDN

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is working to open a new drive-through COVID-19 testing facility near the Bangor International Airport, to replace a temporary testing facility that opened last March in Bass Park.

The Bass Park facility was never supposed to be permanent, but it’s being moved in part so that Bangor can hold voting and other activities in the nearby Cross Insurance Center. Bass Park is normally the location of the Bangor State Fair and the Hollywood Casino harness racing track.

The new facility will also offer more shelter to workers during fall and winter.

It will be a “temporary building” with about 1,000 square feet of drive-through space and 650 square feet of work space, according to EMMC’s application to the Bangor Planning Board, which was approved this week. In time, the facility is also designed to provide COVID-19 vaccines when they are developed.

The temporary testing facility at Bass Park now includes tents and trailers. EMMC will build the new facility in the shuttle parking lot for Bangor International Airport that’s at 721 Maine Ave., according to city records. The project will be able to go forward after it receives a building permit, according to City Planning Officer Anne Krieg.

EMMC is also working to open a new facility near its clinics on Union Street where patients can receive some types of care for COVID-19, according to Dr. James Jarvis, a director of clinical education at EMMC who has led the COVID-19 incident command for Northern Light Health. Providers have been offering those services at Bass Park.

EMMC will be sharing more information, including an opening date, about the new facility in the next couple weeks, according to Jarvis.

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