The Chicago Tribune first reported that production of the BinaxNow rapid COVID-19 tests will begin at the Gurnee, Illinois-based facility within the coming weeks as an Abbott spokesperson confirmed to the outlet that the company is hiring for temporary positions, starting pay at $20 per hour with priority given to those who previously worked at Abbott.
The Abbott spokesperson confirmed the report to MassDevice and issued the following statement:
“As demand for COVID-19 testing has increased, we have acted quickly to scale up again. We’re hiring a number of people — the vast majority temporary positions — at sites across our manufacturing network.
“We are hiring temporary positions and ramping up production at our site in Gurnee to help meet increased demand. We expect to begin production there in the coming weeks.
“We’re not providing details on numbers of employees. We are giving priority to people who previously worked at our facilities.”
As vaccination rates soared and COVID-19 cases dropped in the beginning of the summer, Abbott halted production of the tests in multiple locations. In July, Abbott laid off about 300 employees at its Westbrook, Maine, facility and another 100 at its Scarborough, Maine factory. At the same time, the company closed the Gurnee, Illinois, plant that added 2,000 workers to aid in scaling up testing capacity in September 2020.
With the resurgence of cases due to the more contagious Delta variant sweeping the country, demand is back for testing, including Abbott’s BinaxNow at-home test that is sold over the counter.