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236 new COVID-19 cases reported by Maine CDC, 2 more Mainers have died with coronavirus

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Sunday, November 22, 2020.

MAINE, USA — KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22

The Maine CDC reported two additional Mainers have died with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 176. 

The Maine CDC reported 219 additional confirmed, 236 including probable, COVID-19 cases Sunday.

Of the 10,359 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 9,294 of these cases are confirmed by tests and 1,065 are probable.

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

Maine CDC reports 94 Mainers are currently hospitalized. 42 of those are in critical care and 11 are on ventilators. 

 7,791 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21

Maine has now hit the 10,000 coronavirus case mark. 

The Maine CDC reported one additional death of a Mainer with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 174.

The Maine CDC reported 142 additional confirmed, 165 including probable, COVID-19 cases Saturday.

Of the 10,123 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 9,075 of these cases are confirmed by tests and 1,048 are probable.

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

 7,713 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20

The Maine CDC reported two additional deaths of people with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 173.

The Maine CDC reported 224 additional COVID-19 cases Friday.

Of the 9,958 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 8,933 of these cases are confirmed by tests and 1,025 are probable.

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

 7,590 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

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

Credit: NCM

Friday Coronavirus Briefing

The two additional individuals with COVID-19 who have died are a man in his 80s from Androscoggin County and a woman in her 70s from Somerset County.

Currently, 90 people in Maine are hospitalized with COVID-19; of those, 45 are in intensive care, 14 more than yesterday, and 12 people are on ventilators. 

On Thursday, the Maine CDC opened 11 new outbreak investigations:

  • The Becket House at Belgrade: 4 cases
  • Calais Elementary School: 4 cases
  • Caravel Middle School: 3 cases
  • The Church of Faith in Skowhegan: 3 cases
  • Eric L. Knowlton School in Berwick: 3 cases
  • Hibbard Nursing Home in Dover-Foxcroft: 3 cases
  • Lewiston Middle School: 3 cases
  • Maine Dept. of Transportation, western region facility in Wilton: 3 cases
  • Pinnacle Health Care in Canton: 5 cases
  • The Rockland Marine Corporation: 6 cases
  • York High School: 4 cases

On Friday, the Maine CDC has opened nine new outbreak investigations:

  • Bath Iron Works: 10 cases
  • Dielectric in Raymond: 4 cases
  • Good to Grow Child Care in Elliot: 3 cases
  • Southern Maine Health Care Goodall Hospital mental health unit construction site: 4 cases
  • Greene Central School: 4 cases
  • Marshwood High School in South Berwick: 3 cases
  • Upper Kennebec High School: 8 cases
  • Volunteers of America facility: 3 cases
  • Windham High School: 3 cases

Shah says the number of schools on the above lists "may be something that is disconcerting." However, Shah says the Maine CDC has "not seen significant or sustained transmission within schools, and that's a good thing."

"But that may change as rates of community transmission increase."

Shah says the fact it has been limited to date, is not only just a good thing, it's also not an accident. He says it's a direct result of the work school administrators, staff, and teachers have undertaken and continue to undertake. 

RELATED: York County now 'yellow,' Knox County moved back to 'green' in latest DOE designations

The seven-day positivity rate in Maine now stands at 2.9 percent, up from 2.66 percent yesterday. 

The testing volume remains at a high and robust value, Shah says, with 646 tests per 100,000 people.

"Holiday safety means something much different this year than it did last year," Shah said. "Everything is changed. And as we've talked about, the world has turned upside down compared to where we were a year ago. ... But what's also different is the way in which COVID itself has changed just over the course of the pandemic."

Shah says as humans, often our initial impression of something, like COVID, is the lasting impression, and new facts that come to light get brushed away as "noise." 

"But sometimes we have to recognize that the fundamentals of what we were initially presented with have changed, sometimes, quite significantly."

"We were for so many months used to seeing COVID-19 as a severe phenomenon in other states, but now, it is a phenomenon that is severe in our state," Shah said. "Earlier in the pandemic, what was for many of us an abstract concept, is now very real. We need, today as a state, to update our understanding so that we can update our behavior. If we don't do something different, nothing is going to change. We will stay on this trajectory of increasing cases, which each passing day will make it harder and harder to put a lid on things."

Shah said while it may feel like the CDC keeps shifting its guidelines. "But to be completely candid with you, that is exactly what we should be doing."

Shah notes there are more people now in the hospital due to coronavirus than there ever were before, and single-day case increases of over 200 each day. 

"I know this may scare you—that is not my intention. I'm just laying it all out. I'm being transparent with you so you can appreciate the severity of what we are facing. We are at a critical turning point."

"Your actions matter. Perhaps more than you realize, and most certainly more than they ever have before."

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19

The Maine CDC reported one additional death of a person with COVID-19, bringing the state death toll to 171. The additional death reported is a woman in her 40s from Kennebec County.

The Maine CDC reported 215 additional cases Thursday.

Of the 9,734 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 8,732 are confirmed by tests and 1,002 are probable.

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

7,403 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

Credit: NCM

Wednesday Coronavirus Briefing

Gov. Janet Mills is leading Wednesday's coronavirus briefing with Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah and Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. 

Gov. Mills

Mills began the briefing Wednesday by comparing where Maine stood in terms of the pandemic just last month and where we stand today. A month ago, Maine's seven-day positivity rate was around 0.58 percent—today, it's now 2.66 percent. 

"The winter surge that we were warned about, it's not just coming—it's here. And it's expanding, it's growing by the day," Mills said. 

As the virus continues to surge in Maine and the families will be gathering for the holidays, Mills urged Mainers to re-think their travel and gathering plans.  

“Maine people need to ask themselves, ‘Do I have to take this trip?’ if the answer is honestly ‘No,’ don’t go,” she said. 

She also urged people to continue doing what they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.

"To the skeptics who may hear this message, may not want to hear this message, I want you to know that refusing to follow public health guidance doesn't hurt me personally...you're not going to offend me," Mills said. Mills said who is getting hurt is the small business owner, the health care worker, the grandparent in a nursing home who wants to hug their grandchild. "Think of them when you decide whether or not to wear a mask."

"If you love this country, if you love this state, I ask you: Wear a mask. It's what true patriots do. It's what Maine people do."

Dr. Shah

The four additional deaths of people with COVID-19 are: a woman in her 90s from Knox County, a man in his 80s from Kennebec County, a woman in her 80s from York County, and a man in his 90s from York County. 

Just in the past 30 days along, 123 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19, Shah said. Currently, 85 people are in the hospital, representing an increase of 12 hospitalizations just since yesterday. 

Of those currently hospitalized, 30 people are in intensive care, and 10 people are on ventilators. 

Outbreak Updates

Just in the past day and a half, the Maine CDC has opened six new outbreak investigations:

  • BMW facility in Westbrook: Four total cases
  • Bowdoin College: Cases among three students and one staff member
  • The Mooring on Foreside memory care facility in Cumberland Foreside: Two cases among residents, and one case among staff
  • Berlin City Auto: Three cases
  • Huntington Common in Kennebunk: Four cases among residents, and four cases among staff
  • Paris Elementary School: Three cases among students

Commissioner Lambrew

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today that it will provide additional financial support to nursing facilities for periodic COVID-19 testing of their staff.

Through MaineCare, DHHS will help to reimburse nursing facilities for their costs to conduct this surveillance testing using commercial laboratories. This investment of an estimated $8 million in State and Federal funds over the coming months will help protect residents and staff from the silent spread of this deadly disease.

The Department also announced that all licensed nursing facilities in Maine now have access to Connect to Care Jobs, a portal where facilities can connect with qualified job applicants.

“Providing expanded support for nursing facilities during this surge in COVID-19 in Maine is critical to help the hardworking frontline workers care for themselves and residents of nursing homes,” Lambrew said. “The financing and staffing resources add to the support Maine has offered to protect some of our most vulnerable residents.”

Additionally, Lambrew announced that the University of Maine at Machias is becoming the Maine DHHS's newest “swab and send” site, providing free COVID-19 tests to people who think they need a test, regardless of symptoms and without the need for a referral from a health provider.

Testing will be available on Mondays from noon to 4 p.m. by appointment starting Monday, Nov. 23 and will continue at the Machias campus through at least the week of Jan. 25, 2021, when in-person instruction resumes across the University of Maine System for the spring semester.

RELATED: New 'swab and send' testing site at the University of Maine at Machias will be open to public

MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY 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