A total of five deaths from COVID-19 now reported in Maine

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) A person has died from COVID-19 at the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta, marking the first death reported by MaineGeneral Health, and bringing the total number of virus related deaths in the state to five.

The other deaths reported include three in Cumberland County, and one in York County.

The newly reported deaths were that of two women both in their 80's, both died while in the hospital.

According to hospital officials, another person with the disease is hospitalized at that facility and a third patient was transferred to a different hospital due to their need for a higher level of care.

Two children have also tested positive for the virus, Dr. Nirav Shah says neither of those are school aged.

Tuesday morning the Maine CDC reported that there have now been 303 Mainers who have tested positive for the virus.

68 of those have recovered.

A total of 57 people are currently hospitalized.

Still showing with the largest number of patients with the illness are Cumberland and York counties.

Here is a breakdown of the numbers by county:

Androscoggin: 11
Cumberland: 169
Franklin: 2
Kennebec: 12
Knox: 5
Lincoln: 8
Oxford: 9
Penobscot: 12
Sagadahoc: 7
Somerset: 1
Waldo: 2
York: 59

The counties of residence of six patients have yet to be identified.

The testing backlog is now is down to 600 tests, these are all tests of people in lowest risk category.

3 counties have more than ten cases, including Androscoggin, Penobscot, and Kennebec. This is one of two criteria used to determine if community transmission has occurred.

Officials are still working to confirm if community transmission exists in those areas.

Congregate settings are also of concern and remain a high priority for the CDC.

13 cases of COVID-19 are associated with congregate settings, one of those being a person who received services at a southern Maine homeless shelter.

On that note, Maine's Department of Corrections has tested 7 individuals. 4 of which have come back negative and 3 sets of results remain pending.

During Tuesday's briefing, Dr. Shah asked people to really consider how they are living their lives these days, "For the time being this uncertainty may be the new norm. I fully recognize that uncertainty is unsettling. I want to acknowledge that that feeling of uncertainty, those feelings of being unsettled are okay. We're all feeling it."

As to equipment, 90 of the 190 Intensive Care Unit beds remain available if conditions continue to escalate.

The majority of ventilators are also still available for patients experiencing severe respiratory distress, and a third shipment of personal protective equipment was delivered yesterday form the federal stockpile.

The state has ordered an additional piece of equipment that will help with providing faster test results- that is anticipated to arrive within the next two weeks.

With emergency response, Dr. Shah says it is always important to have a backup plan, as healthcare providers or laboratory staff are also at risk of becoming ill.

Part of that backup plan includes the use of an out of state lab that is assisting with testing.

As has been the situation, it is important to continue to listen to the officials who urge people to stay at home and practice social distancing, which has proven to be effective.