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Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 updates

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Thursday, November 26, 2020.

MAINE, USA — KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26

The Maine CDC reported no additional deaths of Mainers with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 190.

The Maine CDC reported 238 additional cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.

Of the 11,265 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 10,105 are confirmed by tests and 1,160 are probable.

687 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illnesses. 119 people in Maine are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with 51 being treated in intensive care units and 15 on ventilators.

8,800 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 25

The Maine CDC reported one additional death of a person with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 190.

The additional person whose death was announced Wednesday was a man in his 80s from Somerset County.

The Maine CDC reported 228 additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Of the 11,027 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 9,916 are confirmed by tests and 1,111 are probable.

678 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illnesses. 105 people in Maine are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with 43 being treated in intensive care units and 9 on ventilators.

8,592 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

New Outbreak Investigations

The Maine CDC has opened new outbreak investigations at the following places, which have the following numbers of confirmed cases:

Credit: NCM

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 24

The Maine CDC reported 12 additional deaths of people with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 189.

The Maine CDC released the following ages and counties of residence of those who died:

  • A woman in her 90s from Androscoggin County
  • A man in his 80s from Franklin County
  • A man in his 70s from Somerset County
  • A man in his 60s from Somerset County
  • A man in his 70s from Somerset County
  • A woman in her 70s from Somerset County
  • A man in his 80s from Somerset County
  • A man in his 60s from Washington County
  • A man in his 80s from York County
  • A woman in her 70s from York County
  • A woman in her 70s from York County
  • A man in his 70s from York County

The Maine CDC reported 255 additional COVID-19 cases Tuesday.

The 12 deaths in a single-day span and 255 cases in a single-day span are both record single-day highs for Maine. 

Of the 10,799 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 9,471 are confirmed by tests and 1,073 are probable.

647 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illnesses.

7,986 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

Credit: NCM

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23

The Maine CDC reported one additional death of a person with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 177.

The Maine CDC reported 185 additional COVID-19 cases Monday

Of the 10,544 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 9,471 are confirmed by tests and 1,073 are probable.

647 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illnesses.

 7,986 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

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

Credit: NCM

Monday Coronavirus Briefing

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah led Monday's coronavirus briefing. 

Shah said just in the past 30 days alone, 167 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19; currently, 103 are hospitalized, an increase of nine since Sunday. Of those 103, 45 are in the intensive care unit, and 11 are ventilators. 

Of cases reported to the Maine CDC Sunday, 26 percent were from York County and 23 percent were from Cumberland County. 

Shah said since Friday's update, there have been a number of new outbreak investigations. Monday morning, the Maine CDC opened an outbreak investigation into the Newton Center, a nursing home that's adjacent to the Southern Maine Health Care former Goodall Hospital, with 10 cases. 

On Sunday, the Maine CDC opened the following outbreak investigations:

  • The Barron Center in Portland: Three cases among staff
  • Cintas uniform facility: Four cases
  • Gray Birch nursing facility in Augusta: 22 cases
  • Huhtamaki paper facility in Waterville: Eight cases

These come in addition to several new outbreaks the Maine CDC opened on Saturday:

  • Banker's Life and Casualty: Three cases
  • Doolin's Pub in Litchfield: Four cases
  • First Baptist Church in Cherryfield: Five cases
  • Lewiston Fire Department: Seven cases
  • Nate Holyoke Builders in Bucksport: Four cases
  • ND Paper: Three cases
  • Noble High School in North Berwick: Three cases
  • Skowhegan Middle School: Four cases
  • Somerset Rehab: Three cases
  • Winterberry Heights: 10 cases

Shah says the number of outbreaks in Maine has expanded, placing significant challenges on Maine CDC resources.

Maine's seven-day positivity rate is 2.7 percent, which Shah says is something of "a relative plateau" after seeing increases over the past two weeks. 

Maine's testing volume has achieved a new all-time high: 731 PCR tests per every 100,000 people in Maine. 

"In the last seven days, the Maine CDC has received an average of 265 positive test results every single day," Shah said. The seven days before that, the average was 218 positive cases per day. Before that—165. So, Shah says, the average number of reports the Maine CDC is given each day has risen by 60 percent in the past few weeks. 

Shah announced changes to the Maine CDC's approach to case investigations and contact tracing.

Shah said Monday morning the U.S. CDC released guidance for states to focus case investigations and contact tracing resources on individuals who are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19.

The CDC put forth four principles:

  1. Maximize effectiveness based on time
  2. Protect household contacts
  3. Prevent and respond to outbreaks
  4. Protect people who are at increased risk of severe illness

Shah says these principles recognize the challenge that states like Maine are facing with greater numbers of cases and outbreaks. 

In light of this guidance, the Maine CDC is preparing to make two changes:

For case investigations: In general, the Maine CDC has endeavored to touch base with individuals as soon as they receive word of their positive lab result and to, up until recently, periodically touch base with individuals who have tested positive until they have met the criteria for "recovery."

Shah says unfortunately, the Maine CDC has had to make a difficult decision.

Going forward, in light of the increasing rate of new cases, Maine CDC will continue to contact individuals after they have tested positive and provide the guidance they need to stay safe and they have the tools they need to isolate, as well as investigate who they may have been exposed to and others who they may have exposed.

However, that will be the one point of contact Maine CDC has with individuals. The Maine CDC will no longer continue to touch base with positive individuals throughout the course of their illness. 

Shah says making this change will allow investigators to focus on individuals who are, for example, in the midst of an outbreak. 

In terms of contact tracing, the Maine CDC will soon change the way they name individuals who are "close contacts."

RELATED: Maine CDC redefines probable COVID-19 case investigations as flu season arrives

Previously, Maine CDC enrolled individuals as close contacts as their names were given to them by the confirmed case. But Shah says the Maine CDC shouldn't necessarily be enrolling people based on when their name was given, but rather, they should be enrolling people based on when their last contact with someone with COVID-19 was. That way, they should be enrolling people who have the most number of days left on their 14-day quarantine period so the Maine CDC can work with them as early as possible to limit exposure to others in the community. 

Shah says the Maine CDC is continuing to expand its workforce of investigators and contact tracers. 

"But sadly in Maine and across the country, the virus is moving faster and spreading faster than the ability of states to train and deploy new public health investigators," Shah said. 

Shah said they don't make these changes lightly, but they make them recognizing the impact they may have and they make them because they want to focus efforts on the highest risk, and most vulnerable individuals. 

"These changes also underscore what each of us can do," Shah said. "As we go into a holiday week, please recognize that the choices that you and your family make this week can affect the trajectory of our state for many weeks to come."

LAST WEEK'S UPDATES

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) is holding coronavirus briefings on Tuesdays and Thursdays with director Dr. Nirav Shah to keep the public up to date on the situation in Maine

NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube COVID-19 Playlist