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Maine CDC Director: 275 positive cases, 41 recovered, over 6,000 negative test results

(WABI)
Published: Mar. 30, 2020 at 12:25 PM EDT
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The number of cases of coronavirus in Maine continues to rise, with a dozen cases now reported in Penobscot County, and Somerset County now having its first documented case.

There are now 275 cases across the state, an Increase of 22 since Sunday, with the average age of those who have become ill being 55 years old.

Here is a breakdown of cases by county:

Androscoggin: 8

Cumberland: 154

Franklin: 2

Kennebec: 10

Knox: 4

Lincoln: 8

Oxford: 9

Penobscot: 12

Sagadahoc: 7

Somerset: 1

Waldo: 2

York: 53

Unknown: 5

Health officials are working to determine if the cases in Penobscot County are a result of community transmission.

41 people who tested positive here in Maine have recovered and more than 6,000 tests have come back as negative.

Three Mainers have died, Dr. Shah says that both people whose deaths were reported this weekend died while hospitalized.

49 people have been hospitalized at some point during their illness, and a total of 43 of those who have tested positive are healthcare workers.

There are supplies here now to conduct about 2,000 tests.

The backlog in the labs with regard to the tests of those who are considered high risk is cleared out and test results for that population are now able to be given to patients and providers much quicker.

While looking at the numbers by county, it's clear than most Mainers are practicing good social distancing.

Just four counties remain without documented cases, but Dr. Shah continues to say we should all live as if the illness is in our communities regardless of the numbers shown on paper.

Personal protective equipment is very necessary and Dr. Shah says that the most recent shipment of PPE that has come in from federal stockpile may be the last shipment the state sees for the near future.

A Second shipment of PPE arrived last week and a third expected today, but many more pieces are needed and the state is working to identify other avenues where equipment could be received from.

Dr. Shah spent a few moments expressing gratitude to healthcare workers and all people who help to make hospitals a safe place.

He said that those people are the ones keeping things running under extreme conditions, while taking a risk. "I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge that these folks who are racing to the front lines every single day while many of the rest of us are attempting to stay home. They themselves are grappling with that same personal and emotional impact even as they are showing up to work every day to keep Maine people safe. So on behalf of the Maine CDC and all of us working on this outbreak we thank you."

Several groups and businesses are in discussions with the state about the standards necessary to make PPE that is able to be used by those on the frontlines.

The manufacturing community in Maine has been very willing to assist in any way they can, be it making masks, shields, or any other items that could help create safer environments for those working in healthcare.

Dr. Shah also addressed the fact that congregate settings create a special risk. Those settings are places where high numbers of people live together.

"One of the things that we know about congregate living settings is that, in many cases, the individuals that live there are particularly at risk -- partly because of the physical design of many of these facilities, and also because they also may be older individuals, or individuals with preexisting or chronic health conditions," said Shah.

There are now 3 cases are in a group home in Freeport, one at a group home in Leeds, and two cases at separate long term care facilities.

Again today, Dr. Shah reinforced that keeping physical distance is critical to helping to flatten the curve and to get us, as a state to a place where we can find some semblance of normal again.

If the measures that have been recommended are not followed, we may face even more challenges.

So, as a reminder, stay home when you can, limit interactions to those who are members of your immediate family, and if you do need to go out, please keep at least 6 feet of personal space between yourself and others.