AUGUSTA, Maine — On Tuesday, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah voiced his concerns over the coronavirus, urging Mainers to share in that concern and take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the flu season.
"I am concerned about where we are. Maine CDC is concerned about where we are," Shah said in the briefing. "I’m asking everyone else to share in that concern. COVID-19 right now is not on the other side of the fence. It is in our yards."
Gov. Janet Mills shares Shah and the Maine CDC's concerns, a spokesperson for the Governor's Office said. In a Tweet Tuesday referencing what Shah said in the briefing, the Governor said, "We must work hard to maintain our grip on COVID-19. That means wearing our face coverings, maintaining 6 feet of distance, and washing our hands frequently. Together, we can keep Maine safe."
The concerns come as outbreaks continue across Maine, some of which have stemmed from the Aug. 7 wedding and reception in the Millinocket area. As of Tuesday, seven people associated with the wedding have died, and there are 176 cases linked to the wedding.
But Shah noted that the virus is not isolated just to outbreak settings. He said York County continues to be an area of concern.
"It is spreading in the community in and around York County with remarkable force," Shah said.
Shah continued to say Mainers have a window of opportunity to take proper precautions to prevent the spread before the arrival of flu season. The U.S. CDC says because of the pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever, and say getting the flu vaccine this year is vital.
"Our approach to COVID-19 right now should not be to wait until there's a pin on the map over our town," Shah added. "Right now that pin covers the entire state of Maine."
As of Tuesday in Maine, 137 people with COVID-19 have died among 4,918 total COVID-19 cases.
Watch the full Maine CDC briefing here: