AUGUSTA, Maine — As the Maine CDC released the latest number for the coronavirus outbreak—560 total cases to date, and two more deaths—CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah also said the agency has a major concern about another elderly housing facility.

Dr. Shah said cases of COVID-19 have suddenly spiked at Tall Pines in Belfast, a facility that includes a nursing home. He said as of Thursday, Tall Pines had recorded 10 positive tests among patients and three among staff members. There is no information whether any residents have died, or if any are hospitalized. Waldo County, where Belfast is located, is reporting a total of 11 positive cases. 

Dr. Shah said the CDC has been heavily involved with Tall Pines all week.

“As we learned more about the number of cases, our infection control team has been on phone, giving them guidance to keep residents safe, emergency prep team supplying PPE and epidemiologists working with the facility to get a handle on who is infectious who is at risk and who is at risk, right now,” said Shah.

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He said for the moment, Tall Pines is the CDC’s top priority.

Also Thursday, the agency released some new data that finally answered questions reporters and others have been asking for weeks, about people living in and out of Maine.

It indicates 13 Maine residents have been diagnosed with the virus in other states, although they are counted as part of the Maine total. At the same time, 17 out-of-state residents have tested positive here in Maine, and are counted in their home states. There’s no detail on where those people are right now or their condition.

And after several weeks of not talking about negative tests, there was an update Thursday. The CDC reported that so far, 11, 608 individuals in Maine tested negative for COVID-19.

He also reported no testing backlog at the CDC lab, with test results available in about 24 hours. He also said the state is working with Abbot Labs and with Martins Point Healthcare to obtain more of the rapid tests developed by Abbot. 

On Wednesday, Dr. Shah revealed that Maine had ordered and been promised 2,400 of the new rapid tests, but that the federal government had only provided 120 of them. Shah said he had talked directly with a senior executive of Abbot Labs, which has a facility in Maine, to seek help in acquiring more of the tests.

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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