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Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 updates for Tuesday, July 28

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Tuesday, July 28, 2020

MAINE, USA — KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

TUESDAY, JULY 28

2 p.m.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah and Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew provide coronavirus updates in a remote briefing. 

Of the 3,838 total cases, 882 are among health care workers; 815 of those health care workers have recovered and none have died with COVID-19.

At the Marshwood Center in Lewiston, there are now 21 total cases: 13 residents and eight staff members. The facility is undergoing another round of testing on Tuesday. 

The Maine CDC has identified three new outbreaks:

  1. Sappi Paper Mill in Westbrook—On Monday evening the Maine CDC heard of a third case associated with the mill. The Maine CDC is working with management to provide more widespread testing across the facility. 
  2. Central Maine Medical Center—There are 12 total cases: 10 are among staff and two among patients. Dr. Shah says the outbreak appears to have been introduced into CMMC by a patient. As soon as the Maine CDC became aware of the outbreak, they said they worked with the hospital to test and give guidance on infection control practices. This is the second instance of an outbreak of COVID-19 at a hospital; Maine General previously had an outbreak. 
  3. Hancock Foods—There are five cases among workers at Hancock Foods, a facility in Hancock that processes and packages blueberries. Dr. Shah says because of the timing of when the cases were reported to the Maine CDC, these five cases are not included in today's case count. They will, however, be included in the case count updates for Wednesday. 

Dr. Shah says Maine's 7-day positivity rate is 1.08% across the state. For comparison, 30 days ago Maine's 7-day positivity rate was 1.95% and nationally that number is around 9%. 

In Maine, the testing rate currently stands at 179 tests per 100,000 people, translating to an average of 2,400 tests per day over the last 7 days.

Dr. Shah says since the Maine CDC began tracking COVID-19 numbers back in March, there have been 145 positives tests among individuals who have listed their state of residence as outside of Maine. Dr. Shah says that's 145 out of 149,869 PRC tests reported statewide.

Maine DHHS Commissioner Lambrew gives an update on the State's policy on out of state travelers coming into Maine. The State maintains the value of testing, Lambrew says. Lambrew explains she and the Administration feel the testing availability in Maine is good, with an increased number of 'swab and send' testing sites coming online this week, and also says the testing requirements are "solid." 

As of Tuesday, Lambrew says no additional states are being added to the exemption list. Currently, the states exempt from travel restrictions are New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey.

Lambrew says that doesn't mean travelers from states like Massachusetts and Rhode Island can't come to Maine, but if they do they must follow the requirements to quarantine or provide proof of a recent negative test. 

RELATED: Maine Governor Janet Mills asks why GOP members 'care more about Massachusetts money than the life of a Maine person'

Lambrew said they are not considering repealing their policy for Massachusetts and Rhode Island travelers as Republican lawmakers called for on Monday. 

Lambrew says the State is reevaluating its policy on large gatherings of more than 50 people outdoors based on data. 

11 a.m.

The Maine CDC reported two additional deaths of people who tested positive for COVID-19: a woman in her 70s from Lincoln County and a man in his 70s from Androscoggin County. A total of 121 have died with COVID-19 in Maine.

Of the 3,838 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 3,433 are confirmed by test, and 405 are probable.

384 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness.

3,319 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah and Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew will hold a briefing remotely today at 2 pm. NEWS CENTER Maine will stream the briefing live on air, on our website, mobile app, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Credit: NCM

MONDAY JULY 27

The Maine CDC reported zero additional deaths of people who tested positive for COVID-19, meaning the state death total remains at 119.

Of the 3,832 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 3,422 are confirmed by test and 410 are probable.

383 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness. 

3,292 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

Credit: NCM

7AM

WEEKEND UPDATE

THE DATA

Dr. Nirav Shah made clear that when the Maine CDC reports deaths, they are reporting that someone has died who had been confirmed positive with COVID-19, not the cause of death specifically. The cause of death determination is left to the medical examiner.   According to Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, as of a few days ago, there were roughly 2,900 Mainers tested each week. This includes people tested through the state lab in Augusta, as well as large commercial testing companies like LabCorp. Dr. Shah said right now, the positivity rate is over 5%, meaning for every 100 people tested, about 5 or 6 are positive. Compared to other states, whose positivity rates are 10 or 15%, Maine is doing better, Dr. Shah says. He says he'd like to see Maine's positivity rate around 2%, which is what South Korea's is. To do that, Dr. Shah says testing must increase two or three-fold.

RESOURCES

Coronavirus, COVID-19 Background 

The official name for the coronavirus is “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes is named “coronavirus disease 2019” or “COVID-19” for short. Coronavirus is a family of viruses, which can infect people and animals. The viruses can cause the common cold or more serious diseases like SARS, MERS, and COVID-19.

The CDC says symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and in some cases sore throat.

The CDC says there are simple steps to take to reduce the possible spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay home while you're sick and avoid close contact with others
  • The Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced on Tuesday, March 10 that they would be holding daily coronavirus briefings with director Dr. Nirav Shah to keep the public up to date on the situation in Maine

NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube COVID-19 Playlist