Repurposed Scarborough Downs gets up and running as $1 million mass vaccination site – Press Herald

3February 2021

SCARBOROUGH– Just a few moments after he got his COVID-19 vaccination Wednesday, Robyn Goshorn was asked how he felt.

“Grateful to be here,” the 73-year-old from South Portland said. “And a little guilty too, I guess, to consider all individuals who are still waiting. But we have a wise doctor pal who stated if you have the chance to get the vaccine, get it.”

Goshorn and his wife, Alice, 79, were the very first to be vaccinated at a mass clinic at Scarborough Downs, the first such website in southern Maine. MaineHealth, the parent organization of Maine Medical Center and a number of other medical facilities and practices, partnered with Crossroads Holdings, the business that has been redeveloping the 500-acre previous harness racing venue. Retrofitting the previous grandstand into a 30,000-square-foot center was a herculean 15-day effort that involved more than 40 companies and cost $1 million.

“Today’s opening is actually all about neighborhood partnerships and the intense desire Mainers have to take care of their fellow Mainers,” MaineHealth CEO Bill Caron stated throughout a brief event prior to the opening. “We hope that at some time, upwards of 300,000 Mainers will receive a vaccination by strolling through that front door. That’s the scale we’re attempting to accomplish.”

Maine Health and Human Being Solutions Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew was on hand also and stated the launch of the Scarborough Downs site, and others like it, is the result of “intense work, planning, logistics and sacrifice.”

“Today’s excitement is not the same as that which has traditionally brought individuals to this location,” she stated. “Instead, it is the enjoyment of hope.”

Alice Goshorn, 79, of South Portland prepares to

get the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from pharmacist Andrea Lai at a mass vaccination center

at the previous Scarborough Downs Racetrack. Alice and her husband Robyn Goshorn, 73, were the first 2 individuals to get immunized at the newly opened center. Personnel photo by Derek Davis Buy this Image Aside from the Goshorns, who agreed to be vaccinated earlier in the day as part of a media availability arranged by MaineHealth, another

114 visits were arranged for Wednesday afternoon. Amongst them was Robert Powers, 82, who drove up from Waterboro in York County.”I called 2 or 3 times and simply got a recording that said call again,” he said prior to his vaccination.”Then I called the next morning and solved through to somebody and scheduled it. I got lucky.”Numerous Mainers have experienced frustration in trying to line up a consultation during the early rollout. Powers, who is widowed and lives alone, stated life hasn’t changed too much for him over the last 10 months. He goes out to eat a lot less.”I’m glad to get it over with,”he said of the vaccine

. The Scarborough Downs website will be open for the foreseeable future, every day except Sunday, and ultimately will be able to accommodate 1,500 to 2,000 vaccinations each day, contingent on supply. Maine and other states have actually been getting more doses of vaccines over the last two weeks and production is anticipated to continue increasing. Lambrew said the state got an increase recently of 16 percent and next week it will get another 5 percent on top of that.

“It’s still not enough,” she stated.

Since Wednesday morning, at least 120,000 Mainers had gotten their very first dosage and more than 41,000 people, or about 3 percent of the adult population, have received both dosages of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Northern Light Health, the moms and dad company of Eastern Maine Medical Center, Mercy Health Center and others, launched its own mass vaccination website today at the Cross Insurance Coverage Center in Bangor. It anticipates to administer 1,800 shots by week’s end. Other sites throughout the state remain in the preparation phases.

Vaccinations have been taking place at smaller websites for weeks now as Maine has moved into Phase 1B of its vaccination plan. Gov. Janet Mills has directed centers to focus on those 70 and older while supply remains minimal.

Scarborough was a great place for a mass clinic, Caron said, due to the fact that of its location in between northern York County and southern Cumberland County, where a large percentage of the state’s population lives.

JoAnne Chapman, right, takes a group of doctor through the procedure of COVID-19 vaccination during a training exercise at the previous Scarborough Downs Racetrack, which has been converted into a mass vaccination clinic. Staff picture by Derek Davis Buy this Picture Expense Perry, 74, of Wells was amongst the first consultations early Wednesday afternoon. He arrived about a half hour early with his better half, Rose, who at 69, simply missed out on the age cutoff.”I required three days and all I&got was’there’s nothing available,'” he said.”The fourth time I called in, I entered into an automated system to sign up. Then they called me about a week later on and I got arranged. I didn’t know what to expect, none of us know.”For many older Mainers, their first shot represents a glimmer of hope that a return to normalcy might be possible, although Perry has tempered expectations.”We are never going to return to the typical we once understood, with or without the shot,” he stated. Robyn Goshorn had a different outlook. “We don’t prepare to change our habits, but it certainly feels like there is a future to anticipate, “he said. The Goshorns have actually been very mindful during the pandemic. They haven’t headed out to consume or checked out with friends.

They have not even taken communion at their church in nearly a year. “We’re absolutely lucky, we have what

we need, we have a great place to be,”he said. “However the seclusion is hard.”Their first grandchild was born last April. He resides in Chicago with his parents, and the Goshorns long for the day they can visit him personally. Alice Goshorn said she felt a little weird getting the vaccination since she understands her life isn’t going to alter overnight, and she cited guidance regularly provided by the director of Maine’s Center for Illness Control and Prevention. “I just hear Dr.(Nirav )Shah’s message

in my ear all the time,’Be patient. Be client, ‘”she said, stopping briefly for a minute.”So, I’m attempting to be patient.”

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