Dr. Nirav Shah thanks Mainers, acknowledges the tough circumstances that the pandemic has created

Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 12:17 PM EDT
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On Wednesday, Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine CDC had words of encouragement for Maine residents, as he presented the data showing that the number of cases of coronavirus is still growing.

Dr. Shah reiterated that this virus can cause illness for people of any age and any health condition, and he encourages all Mainers to heed the guidelines from the CDC to protect themselves and their family members.

He thanked Mainers for their individual efforts while acknowledging this is not an easy time.

"Changes to our lives that were utterly inconceivable a month ago are now common place and have been accepted by people all across Maine. And I think that's because all Maine people understand that what we are trying to accomplish via these physical distancing recommendations is nothing short of saving lives."

Dr. Shah says it's important to understand there is not a single number on the whiteboard that is telling officials how to react or when it might be time to loosen mandated restrictions.

He says many people are living with a misconception the coronavirus won't affect them due to their health or age, but data shows it can cause any person to become ill, some very seriously.

Dr, Shah continues to say social distancing and following the Governor's mandates are critically important so Maine can flatten the curve and return to what will be a new "normal."

14 people in Maine have now died from COVID-19. That news Wednesday from the Maine CDC.

There are two new deaths to report, one in Waldo County, the first there, and another in Cumberland County.

Both were in their 80s.

The total number of confirmed cases in Maine is now 537, an increase of 19 since Tuesday.

187 people have recovered, up 11 from Tuesday.

According to Dr. Nirav Shah, lab samples are being tested seven days a week, with results within 24 hours.

About half of the intensive care unit beds in Maine are still available.

The majority of ventilators are ready for providers to use them in hospital settings as necessary.

When looking at the county by county numbers, Piscataquis County remains the only county without a confirmed case.

Here is the county by county breakdown:

Androscoggin: 23

Aroostook: 2

Cumberland: 262

Franklin: 5

Hancock: 3

Kennebec: 26

Knox: 9

Lincoln: 9

Oxford: 12

Penobscot: 31

Sagadahoc: 13

Somerset: 5

Waldo: 7

Washington: 1

York: 121

On the testing front, people were excited to hear last week that the Maine CDC would be receiving a sizable shipment of the rapid-result Abbott Labs tests.

Unfortunately, Wednesday when the shipment arrived, not everything they thought would be there was present.

The state received all 15 of the coronavirus testing machines they were expecting. However, Dr. Shah said the number of test kits was "much smaller" than they were told.

Maine CDC spokesperson Robert Long said Wednesday afternoon via email that they were expecting to be able to perform about 2,300 tests with shipment, but the test kits they got will only allow them to do 115.

The Abbott Labs tests are known nationally for being able to detect a positive test in 5 minutes and negative test in 13.

Maine could get them soon, though. Long said, "We’ve been told that we should be receiving more test kits soon. We’re working on the assumption that they will arrive to make it possible to implement a strategy that uses the Abbott Lab resources for point-of-care testing among vulnerable populations."