MAINE, USA — To see the daily total of COVID-19 cases in your area, scroll to the bottom of the story and enter your zip code or county. 

report released the Portland Press Herald Friday says officials are concerned about the recent spike of coronavirus COVID-19 cases in two of Maine's counties with over 100,000 residents.

According to numbers released by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Cumberland and Androscoggin counties have seen a distinct COVID-19 spike. The Portland Press Herald says Androscoggin County has seen the sharpest increase in cases. 

  • The seven-day moving average of new cases in Androscoggin County has risen steadily from 0.9 a day on April 28 to 13.7 on Friday, a 15-fold increase in less than four weeks. The case trend in Cumberland County has risen steadily since April 21, from 7.9 cases a day to 24.3 on Friday, a tripling over a month, according to the paper. 

Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah told the paper he has some concern. 

"I'm not reassured. I'm concerned," Shah said. "The risk is really high."

All this comes as Maine Governor Janet Mills announced new guidance for gatherings around the state, which will likely increase the number of people in one space. 

Cumberland County Covid-19 numbers
Cumberland County Detail coronavirus

Another factor officials are considering is if the increase in cases is tied with the increased testing capabilities because of the state's deal with IDEXX Labs.

Shah told the Press Herald, the spikes in likely began before either instance. 

The Press Herald sent Maine's recent data to Dr. Thomas Tsai of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Tsai said the cases in Androscoggin County are most concerning, and the state should initiate aggressive testing and contact tracing.  

"With a large immigrant community, it is important to do outreach and make sure that there is enough access to the health care system and the public health system and to make sure that we are doing active surveillance in immigrant communities that may be underserved," Tsai told the paper.

Androscoggin county detail covid 19
Androscoggin county graph covid-19

The paper asked Dr. Shah about the state's plan to allow the loosening of coronavirus restrictions on June 1. Shah told the newspaper, "Every single time we talk to the governor, we keep every one of these (increase in cases) trends top of mind, and they have not gone unnoticed."

The number of new cases of COVID-19 has risen steeply for much of the past month in Cumberland and Androscoggin counties, raising concerns that a resurgence of the disease is underway as Maine loosens the lockdown intended to slow its spread.

Shah told the paper most of the increases are coming from congregant settings. According to the newspaper, Shah said most of Cumberland County's cases had been tied to the outbreaks at Tyson Foods and Bristol Seafood in Portland and Cape Memory Care in Cape Elizabeth. According to Shah, Androscoggin County transmissions are mostly occurring within households.

You can read the full Portland Press Herald article by following the link.

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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