Maine Health Care Providers Can Now Test Anyone They Suspect To Have COVID-19
Governor Janet Mills announced at Monday's Maine CDC briefing that health care providers can now order coronoavirus testing for anyone they suspect may have the virus.
Until now, a tiered system was in place, prioritizing testing based on need. Thanks to the test kits being provided by IDEXX Laboratories, the State's testing capacity has now tripled, allowing tests for anyone a health care professional feels needs one.
That increase in testing capabilities will provide more data to the CDC which in turn can help in deciding if the four phase reopening plan should be modified.
Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah announced in Friday's briefing that the total number of reported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Maine is now at 1,713, an increase of 26 since Sunday. 1,533 of those cases are confirmed while 180 are deemed probable.
1053 people diagnosed with COIVD-19 have recovered, an increase of 35.
One new death was bringing the total number to 71.
The total number of active cases is 541, a increase of 25.
223 patients have had to be hospitalized at some point. 42 are currently hospitalized with 16 of those in critical care and 10 patients on ventilators.
A new statistic that is now being reported by the Maine CDC is the number of tests for COVID-19 that have been performed. This will replace the stat of how many individuals have been tested. That weekly reported cumulative number of tests that have been performed is 33,035. That number is updated each Wednesday.
The Maine CDC has received at total of 17 cases of the drug remdesivir provided by the federal government to distribute to Maine hospitals. Remdesivir is currently being tested as a treatment for COVID-19 and has been authorized for emergency use in the U.S.
Dr. Shah noted last week, the importance of Mainers taking the time to see their health care providers for their routine medical visits. Shah especially stressed the importance of well child checks and routine vaccinations.
"I ask everyone to make sure that they and their family members are up to date on routine recommended vaccines," Shah said at Wednesday's Maine CDC briefing. "That's one of the best ways to make sure your protecting not just your family members, but other folks in your community who may be elderly, who may have chronic healthcare conditions or who may be immunocompromised."
Governor Janet Mills extended Maine's State of Emergency to June 11 allowing the state government to use resources to protect the health and safety of Mainers and to continue to receive Federal resources. The extension does not affect the timing of the phased Stay Safer at Home Order is currently in effect through May 31.
Phase 1 of Maine's four phase plan to reopen the state continues the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people. People who are able to work from home should continue to do so, and people should wear cloth face coverings in public settings where physical distancing measures are hard to maintain.
If the Maine CDC detects any resurgence of the virus, the state will slow down the stages and reinstate restrictions.
On May 8, Governor Janet Mills announced a plan to allow certain businesses to open in designated counties beginning May 11.
The counties affected by the rural reopening plan are Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Somerset, Franklin, Oxford, Kennebec, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc. All of these counties have not had shown evidence of community transmission of COVID-19.
Retail stores in these counties may now open to customers provided they adopt the health and safety precautions that the state is releasing. The precautions include restricting the number of customers in the store at any one time, enhancing cleaning and sanitation practices, and maximizing touch free transactions wherever possible.
Restaurants in these counties may now open for outdoor dining and for limited dine-in service providing they adopt health and safety precautions, such as physically distancing customers, making sure employees follow enhanced hygiene and sanitation practices and controlling customer flow by making reservations only whenever possible.
Remote campsites and sporting camps may now reopen with public safe guards.
The statewide plan to re-open has had some minor adjustments as well. Fitness and exercise centers statewide may now be permitted to open for outdoor classes of 10 people or less or for one-on-one personal training instruction inside.
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.