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Maine CDC reports 1 additional death, 134 additional COVID-19 cases Friday; total vaccinations nearly 278,806

Find Bangor, Portland, Maine daily COVID updates on outbreak and vaccine distribution as we work together to separate facts from fear. Friday, February 19, 2021.

MAINE, USA — KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

DAILY MAINE COVID-19, VACCINE UPDATE FOR FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19

The Maine CDC reported one additional death from COVID-19, bringing the state death toll to 656. The additional death reported Friday was a man in his 70s from Washington County.

The Maine CDC reported 134 additional COVID-19 cases in the state.

Of the 43,224 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 34,333 were confirmed by tests and 8,891 are probable.

12,755 Mainers have completed COVID-19 isolation.

Cumulatively across Maine, 278,806 vaccine doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered as of Thursday morning. Of those, 193,284 have been first doses and 85,522 have been second doses.

Currently in Maine, there are 87 people hospitalized with COVID-19; 29 are in critical care, and 7 are on a ventilator. 

The Maine CDC's next state coronavirus update is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Thursday Coronavirus Briefing

Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew joined Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah for the briefing Thursday. 

The additional death reported Thursday was a man in his 40s from Cumberland County. 

In the past 30 days, 163 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Currently, 89 people in the hospital; 27 are in the ICU, and nine are on a ventilator. 

The seven-day PCR test positivity rate stands at 1.36 percent, with a volume of 590 tests per 100,000 people. 

The antigen test positivity rate is 3.4 percent, with a volume of 128 tests per 100,000 people. 

Overall, Maine will be receiving 27,740 first doses of the vaccine next week. 

  • 13,700 Moderna doses
  • 14,040 Pfizer doses

That is a net increase of 3,510 new first doses that will be coming into the state next week. 

Shah notes that the federal government has officially changed its accounting system for how doses are calculated and put on the books. Early on, it was found that each vial of the Pfizer vaccine contained a sixth dose, rather than five. Starting next week, the allocation numbers that are being reporting will officially reflect the presence of that sixth dose. 

In effect, Shah says this makes explicit what was previously implicit. 

It will be the same number and type of vials, it will just be a recognition of this extra dose. 

Maine is, in fact, getting a real increase in doses in next week's allocation. 

Up until recently, Maine has been receiving nine so-called "trays" of the Pfizer vaccine. Next week, Maine will be receiving 12 trays. 

"This increase of 3,510 doses is welcome, we are thankful for it," Shah said.

RELATED: Maine to see 3,510-dose increase in 11th week of COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Since the first weeks of vaccinations, the Maine CDC has sought to find instances where there might be a temporary mismatch between places that have had more vaccine on-hand than other places in the state that had vaccinators and patients ready to receive those. Where they have seen those mismatches, Shah said, the Maine CDC has always moved the vaccine from place to place. 

The Maine CDC has spotted another one of those mismatches. Shah said in this instance, the Maine CDC found that there are 3,900 doses of Pfizer vaccine in the CVS Pharmacy warehouse. Those vaccines are not ones that were immediately scheduled to be administered, and thus, this Saturday, the Maine CDC will be moving those doses to the state's general pool so they can be immediately used, rather than at a later date which CVS was not able to specify. 

"We are doing this because we want every single dose that is allocated to the state of Maine, again, to be placed and made available to Maine people as quickly as possible," Shah said. 

Regarding open vaccination appointments, Shah said the bottom line is that there are appointments available right now and for the next several days at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. 

Shah said earlier on Thursday he spoke with the Northern Light Health team that is operating that vaccination site, who noted that while reviewing their scheduled appointments, they found several openings. They have a "significant amount of openings" in the coming days and into next week. 

If you are 70 and over and going to Bangor is a possibility for you, there are openings available and you can schedule an appointment now. You do not need to be a patient of Northern Light Health to receive a vaccine at the Cross Insurance Center. 

To schedule an appointment, you can call 207-204-8551 or sign up online at covid.northernlighthealth.org.

Watch the full briefing here:

Tuesday updates

Tuesday Coronavirus Briefing

Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin joined Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah and Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew for the briefing on Tuesday. 

The two additional deaths reported Tuesday are: 

  • A resident of Kennebec County and a resident of York County
  • A woman and a man
  • One was in their 70s and the other was in their 80s

These deaths bring the state death toll to 651. 

Shah said just in the past 30 days, 174 Mainers have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. Currently, 92 people are in the hospital with COVID-19; 24 are in the ICU, and 11 are on a ventilator. 

The seven-day PCR test positivity rate stands at 1.57 percent, about where it was in early November of 2020, Shah noted. The PCR testing volume stands at 599 tests per 100,000 people in Maine. 

As of Tuesday morning, just over 13 percent of people in Maine—more than 1 in every 8 people—have gotten at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and at least 5.5 percent (about 1 in every 20 people)—have now been fully vaccinated. 

Shah said the Maine CDC recently confirmed the second case of the UK COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, in Maine. The individual is someone from York County who had a recent history of domestic travel. 

The Maine CDC said they've completed their investigation and have not found any evidence of a connection with the first case that was confirmed last week in Franklin County. 

The second individual is "doing well," and is continuing to isolate, Shah said.

Shah reiterated that the Maine CDC is continuing to seek out this variant and others, in partnership with clinical laboratory partners such as Jackson Lab, and doing testing at the Maine CDC lab. 

"Because we are actively looking for these cases, we expect to find more and more individual cases of not just this variant, but potentially other such variants as we go forward," Shah said.

For both cases, Shah said the Maine CDC was able to establish the variant was likely linked to the individuals' travel history. 

"So, we are not in a situation, thankfully right now, where we have detected the variant in an individual with no travel history," Shah said. "That being said, that has occurred in other states."

Shah said that is a possibility on the horizon. For these two cases, the Maine CDC was able to work with the individuals and make sure they were isolating or quarantining quickly. Shah said the concern is that eventually these variants will gain a foothold and start being transmitted from person to person. 

"The variants can't spread if we don't give them an opportunity to," Shah said, nodding to the importance of wearing face coverings and social distancing. "But it's a risk, it's a concern, it's one of the reasons for my caution right now because they are out there and I don't want them to start spreading."

RELATED: Maine CDC confirms second case of UK COVID-19 variant in Maine

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Maine Department of Education (DOE) announced new COVID-19 testing options to support schools in Maine, strengthening Maine’s strategy that has effectively limited virus transmission in school settings. 

Lambrew said the state has purchased 250,000 BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests and that they will prioritize these tests for schools, along with health care and long-term care sites, to expand regular testing in schools and support in-person learning. The tests are expected to arrive over the next three months and come in addition to 25,000 BinaxNOW tests that remain from the State’s initial 2020 Federal distribution.

READ MORE HERE: State buys additional COVID-19 tests for schools, health-care and long-term care facilities

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