It’s official, testing for COVID-19 is winding down. This point has been made evident over the past few months with many diagnostics firms cutting positions.
Abbott Laboratories is the latest to make cuts and has eliminated 199 workers in its Westbrook, Maine manufacturing facility according to a report from WMTW. This follows the Abbott Park, IL-based company cutting 219 positions from the facility in March according to a report from the Portland Press Herald.
“Since the start of the pandemic, Abbott has invested in and scaled up production in multiple facilities in the U.S. to help meet the country’s COVID testing needs,” Scott Stoffel, a spokesperson for Abbott, told MD+DI in an email. “Now that COVID has transitioned to a more endemic, seasonal type of respiratory virus we’re continuing to adjust our workforce to align with market conditions. We appreciate the contributions of all of our workers at this site during a time when the country desperately needed COVID testing.”
Stoffel added, “impacted employees have been offered severance and outplacement services and will have consideration for open positions within the company.”
Erratic Testing Market Leads to Layoffs
The COVID-19 testing scene has been all over the place. At the beginning of the pandemic when testing was in strong demand companies scrambled to hire workers to keep up with testing production.
As the testing demand went down companies reacted by making cuts. Back in July of 2021 when there was a decline in testing – most likely because of the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, Abbott eliminated 310 jobs at the Westbrook, ME facility. At the time, an article from MainBiz reported that another 100 workers could potentially lose jobs at Abbott’s Scarborough, ME facility.
So, is the COVID-19 testing boom that once turned companies like Abbott and Hologics into earnings juggernauts, while other firms struggled? If the month of May is any indication, then the answer is yes. A few weeks ago, Thermo Fisher Scientific announced it was going to close three of its facilities in San Diego resulting in 230 positions being cut.
Cue Health, a diagnostics company that went public in 2021, let go of 326 people or about 30% of its workforce, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This was the second round of layoffs for the San Diego, CA-based company. MD+DI reported Cue cut 388 positions earlier this year.