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201 additional COVID-19 cases, 2 additional deaths reported in Maine Friday

Find daily updates on the Maine coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and vaccine distribution as we work together to separate facts from fear. Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

MAINE, USA — KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

DAILY MAINE COVID-19, VACCINE UPDATE FOR FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12

The Maine CDC reported two additional deaths of people with COVID-19, bringing the state death toll to 643.

The Maine CDC reported 201 additional COVID-19 cases in the state.

Of the 42,259 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 33,713 were confirmed by tests and 8,546 are probable.

12,619 Mainers have completed COVID-19 isolation.

Cumulatively across Maine, 226,184 vaccine doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered as of Friday morning. Of those, 162,662 have been first doses and 63,522 have been second doses.

The Maine CDC's next state coronavirus update is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Credit: NCM

DAILY MAINE COVID-19, VACCINE UPDATE FOR THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11

The Maine CDC did not report any additional deaths of people with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 641.

The Maine CDC reported 175 additional COVID-19 cases in the state.

Of the 42,058 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 33,576 were confirmed by tests and 8,482 are probable.

12,588 Mainers have completed COVID-19 isolation.

Cumulatively across Maine, 215,892 vaccine doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered as of Thursday morning. Of those, 155,872 have been first doses and 60,020 have been second doses.

The Maine CDC is scheduled to provide a state coronavirus update at 2 p.m. Thursday. NEWS CENTER Maine will broadcast the update live on air, as well as stream it on our website, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and mobile app.

Credit: NCM

Maine CDC Thursday Coronavirus Briefing

Currently in Maine, there are 100 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 22 are in critical care, and 11 are on a ventilator. 

The positivity rate in Maine has "thankfully" come down, Shah said. The seven-day PCR test positivity rate stands at 2.1 percent, with a volume of 600 tests per 100,000 people. Shah said this indicates good signs that there is less transmission of the virus right now, but there are still some concerning signs on the horizon, particularly with the introduction of new variants. 

RELATED: Maine CDC: UK COVID-19 variant confirmed in Maine

In total, 215,892 vaccine doses have been administered in Maine. 

  • First dose: 155,872 (11.6 percent of the population)
  • Second dose: 60,020 (4.47 percent of the population)

For next week's allocation of the vaccine, Maine will be receiving 1,000 more doses than the previous order. Shah said they are undoubtedly excited that the allocation is going up, not down. However, Shah said it's important to take a step back and take a look at where we stand as a state. As of Thursday morning, about 65,000 people who are age 70 and older in Maine have received their first dose, representing about one-third of all individuals 70+ in the state. 

RELATED: Maine CDC expects thousand dose increase in COVID-19 vaccine for 10th week of distribution

Shah said while they're thrilled to receive 1,000 more doses next week, "we still have about 130,000 people in Maine who are 70 and over who are still waiting to get vaccinated."

Shah says these numbers highlight how severely supply-constrained the state remains. 

Shah noted that with a low hospitalization rate and case and positivity data as low as it has been since November, "it's easy to be celebratory." 

"This is part of the complexity of a pandemic. The good news doesn't always uniformly offset concerning news. And that's where we are right now," Shah said. 

Although there is some good epidemiological news on the horizon, we still see concerns on the horizon, simultaneously, Shah said, referencing the confirmation of the UK COVID-19 strain, B.1.1.7, in Maine.

Shah said the Maine CDC anticipated finding this variant in Maine eventually. As a result of that anticipation, the Maine CDC is taking "intentional" and "deliberate" steps to seek out the variant.

Shah said the information he has is based on the best and most recent scientific information available right now, but the information might change as new findings emerge. 

This variant spreads more easily than the virus we've already seen in Maine. It also seems to be more contagious, and there are estimates that vary on just how much more contagious it is. Some estimates have the low point at about 20 percent more contagious, some have it at 40 or even 50 percent. 

Shah said anything that is more contagious can lead to more cases and overall may increase hospitalizations. But new data suggests this new variant may not just spread more easily, but if it infects someone, that person may have more serious COVID-19 and may need to be hospitalized and may even have a higher rate of death. 

Based on clinical data available, both of the vaccines currently authorized and in use in Maine (Pfizer and Moderna) are effective against this variant. 

The Maine CDC is conducting genomic sequencing on a subset of positive samples in Maine to see if more cases of variants can be detected. Sadly, Shah says, given how much this virus spreads and how easily these new variants can be transmitted, it is likely that the Maine CDC will find more cases of the UK variant as well as other variants. 

The Maine CDC is also working very closely with the person who tested positive for the UK variant to make sure they are abiding by all public health recommendations. Shah said thankfully, so far they have. 

So, Shah said they are hoping to limit the spread of this variant as much as possible "so it doesn't gain a foothold in Maine as it has done so in other states, namely like Florida."

They are also working with the scientific community to study whether there are any impacts in the future of this variant on the overall health of Maine people—whether it leads to more overall hospitalizations, more severe illness, or lead to more deaths.

Shah said the bottom line for what this means on a day-to-day basis for Mainers is the bedrock health practices he's been advocating for about a year now still apply, even when talking about these new variants. These principles will also help prevent the spread of these new variants. 

DAILY MAINE COVID-19, VACCINE UPDATE FOR WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10

The Maine CDC reported two additional deaths of people with COVID-19. The state death toll now stands at 641. 

The two additional deaths were:

  • One resident of Cumberland County and one resident of Penobscot County
  • One man and one woman
  • One was in their 70s, and the other was 80 or older

The Maine CDC reported 253 additional COVID-19 cases in the state.

Of the 41,883 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 33,469 were confirmed by tests and 8,414 are probable.

There are currently 112 people in the hospital due to COVID-19—23 are in critical care, 13 are on a ventilator. 

  • Total Maine vaccinations: 208,302
  • 1st dose vaccinations: 151,010
  • Percentage of Maine population to receive first dose: 11.23%
  • 2nd dose vaccinations: 57,292
  • Percentage of Maine population to receive second dose: 4.26%

Wednesday updates:

Credit: NCM

DAILY MAINE COVID-19, VACCINE UPDATE FOR TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9

The Maine CDC reported three additional deaths of people with COVID-19. The state death toll now stands at 639 deaths.

The three additional deaths announced Tuesday include a resident of Cumberland County, a resident of Oxford County, and a resident of Washington County. Two were men and one was a woman. One was in their 60s and two were 80 or older.

The Maine CDC reported 211 additional COVID-19 cases in the state.

Of the 41,630 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 33,301 were confirmed by tests and 8,329 are probable.

3,964 of Maine's total cases have been among health care workers.

117 people in Maine are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 24 of whom are being treated in intensive care units and 13 of whom are on ventilators.

12,568 Mainers have completed COVID-19 isolation.

MaineHealth offers vaccine to all 22,000 of its employees

According to the Portland Press Herald, MaineHealth admits to vaccinating all of its employees, not just those who are on the front lines of the pandemic, but also employees who never come in contact with patients or medical personnel.

Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew responded to a question about this during Tuesday's state coronavirus briefing, saying the following:

“Ensuring that people have confidence, first and foremost, in our vaccine plan and administration is at the top of our minds. We appreciate the fact that the supply is not coming fast enough, that there are vulnerable people at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 that are still waiting for that vaccine to be scheduled, the appointments to be scheduled, or the sites to be open.

This means that we will continue to be and be more aggressive with our providers to ensure that they are following the governor’s guidelines which, as Dr. Shah mentioned, are set based on the need to save lives. We do know that older Mainers, people age 70 and older, are the ones at most risk of death. While we’ve gotten fairly far in vaccinating them – we’re close to 30 percent of people 70 and older who’ve gotten their first dose of vaccine – we have a long way to go. As such, we are reiterating that our guidelines are requirements. We’re saying in multiple forms of communication that failing to follow these guidelines could be a violation of the provider agreements, which set up the terms for them getting the vaccine. And we continue to underscore that our plan, which right now is simple – people ages 70 and older – is designed to save lives. 

We continue to try to work with our providers to make sure they understand these rules. We will, as needed, increase that accountability and integrity of those programs and we do hope that again, with the supply expanding as Dr. Shah mentioned, from the Biden administration, we can quickly get to additional people.”

READ MORE: MaineHealth offers vaccine to all 22,000 of its employees

Testing Metrics in Maine

Maine's 7-day PCR test positivity rate now stands at 2.5 percent. The testing volume for PCR tests is at 573 tests per every 100,000 people.

Maine's 7-day positivity rate for antigen testing stands at 4.8 percent. The antigen testing volume is at 132 tests per every 100,000 people.

Vaccinations in Maine

Cumulatively across Maine, 200,927 vaccine doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered as of Tuesday morning. Of those, 145,894 have been first doses and 55,033 have been second doses.

According to Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, 15 percent of Maine people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Just over four percent of Mainers have received both doses.

Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew announced Tuesday that 24 Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies in Maine will begin administering the vaccine through the U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

Lambrew said more than 1,000 Walmart stores in 22 states are receiving federal vaccine allocations this week, separate from and on top of the allotment states receive each week, with an emphasis on underserved communities.

"This partnership coupled with an increasing supply of vaccines from the federal government will help us save the lives of Maine people most at risk of suffering and dying from COVID-19 and get our state back to normal," Lambrew added.

According to Lambrew, eligible Maine residents can schedule a vaccine appointment starting this evening via Walmart and Sam's Club's websites. Lambrew said the sites will be open beginning Friday.

Walmart and Sam's Club locations:

New Maine CDC outbreak investigations 

  • 19 cases at Orchard Park, a long-term care facility in Farmington
  • Five cases at the residential portion of Tall Pines in Belfast 

"As with all outbreak investigations into congregate care settings, Maine CDC is focused on a few things," Shah said. "First, making sure that the staff have appropriate levels of PPE. Second, making sure that testing is widely available to all staff and residents who have potentially been exposed. And then the third, working with facility operators on infection control practices to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 within any facility."

Credit: NCM

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8

The Maine CDC reported one additional death of a person with COVID-19, bringing the state death toll to 636. The additional death reported Monday is a man in his 70s from Knox County.

The Maine CDC reported 201 additional COVID-19 cases.

Of the 41,419 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 33,176 were confirmed by tests and 8,243 are probable.

12,535 Mainers have completed COVID-19 isolation.

The seven-day PCR test positivity rate stands at 2.58 percent.

Currently in Maine, 123 people are hospitalized, 32 of whom are in critical care and 13 are on a ventilator. 

Cumulatively across Maine, 195,245 vaccine doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Of those, 142,325 have been first doses and 52,920 have been second doses.

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

Credit: NCM

LAST WEEK'S UPDATES

MAINE COVID CORONAVIRUS DATA

NEWS CENTER MAINE COVID STORY PLAYLIST