AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control said Monday that 107 Mainers so far had tested positive for COVID-19, with 12 of those people hospitalized.
The numbers certainly got everyone’s attention, representing double the cases of just a few days ago. Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine CDC said seeing the increase should drive home the point that people need to take serious action to restrict their contact with others.
“What I'd like to ask everyone to do is I’d like to ask everyone to live their lives as if COVID-19 is already in your community,” said Dr. Shah. “What we know right now is even if COVID-19 has not been confirmed in your community it's likely there."
He said that means stepping up the all-important social distancing…minimizing contact with others to avoid getting or spreading the virus.
“How you live your life today can affect the lives of others in your community tomorrow."
Testing for the virus continues, but Dr. Shah said the top priority is people who are hospitalized, then healthcare workers and first responders. Others, he admits, aren’t getting their test results as quickly.
"I acknowledge that. I recognize that wait time causes anxiety and frustration. Especially now when no one needs more anxiety and frustration in their lives than they already have,” the CDC Director said.
He said they’re working on ways to speed that up, But the big message today was about protecting each other…though Dr. Shah said Maine does not yet need to impose the more drastic steps being used in some other states.
Dr. Shah also said there is new research showing that for some people, the first sign of coronavirus is intestinal problems, not respiratory difficulties. But he said the most certain signs are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Those symptoms, he said, should cause anyone to self-isolate and call a doctor.
The rest of us, he said, unless we have essential jobs or errands, should stay home.
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