Dr. Shah Puts Concern Over Higher Numbers of COVID-19 in Maine Into Context
In Thursday's COVID-19 briefing, Maine CDC director Nirav Shah announced that over the past two weeks, 488 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported. By putting that number into context, he demonstrated his concern:
- 488 new COVID-19 cases in Maine over the past two weeks makes up 9% of the total cumulative cases since the pandemic began.
- 194 of the 488 cases reported in the past two weeks have been in York County.
- Right now there are 17 outbreak investigations in York County, more than half of all the outbreak investigations that the Maine CDC has conducted.
- The average age of of those diagnosed in the past two weeks is 40. In April and may it was 51. Younger people are now being affected in Maine which concerns Dr. Shah because data from the US CDC shows that an increase of COVID-19 in younger people has preceded an increase in older people.
- In the last two weeks there have been increases in all of Maine's counties but there aren't outbreaks in all counties indicating continual spread of COVID-19.
- Of the 488 new cases in the past 2 weeks, 412 are not associated with any known outbreaks. They are associated with transmission that is spreading and occurring in every part of Maine from person to person.
Dr. Shah went on to say that some of the increase in confirmed cases is a result of the number of tests being conducted, but that doesn't reduce the risk. "The concern here overall is that even though we anticipated finding new cases because we set out to look for them, what this tells us is what we suspected all along, which is that the virus is in every part of the state and that each and every one of us is potentially vulnerable to it."
The latest numbers released Thursday by the Maine CDC show that the cumulative number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Maine is now at 5,431 an increase of 40 since Wednesday. 4,865 of those cases are confirmed while 566 are deemed probable.
There was one new death reported of an individual with COVID-19, bringing the total to 142. 451 patients have had to be hospitalized at some point. 13 are currently hospitalized with 7 in critical care and one patient on a ventilator.
4,704 people diagnosed with COVID-19 have recovered, an increase of 26 since Wednesday. The total number of diagnosed active cases of COVID-19 is 585, an increase of 13. The cumulative number of COVID-19 negative tests is 437,385 with a 14-day positivity rate of 0.5%.
Governor Mills has extended the State of Emergency in Maine through October 29, allowing Maine to continue to receive federal funding and use available resources to respond to COVID-19.
An executive order remains in place requiring large retail stores, lodging, restaurants, outdoor bars and tasting rooms in coastal counties and Maine's largest cities to enforce the state's face covering requirement.
The counties where businesses are be required to enforce the face covering requirement are Hancock, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Cumberland and York as well as the more populated inland cities Bangor/Brewer and Lewiston/Auburn.
If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, including a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, the Maine CDC says you should call your doctor before going in so that they can prepare for your arrival. The Maine CDC continues to update with new information daily. Keep checking on our mobile app or website to get the latest.