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Real-time Maine coronavirus updates: Tuesday, September 29

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Tuesday, September 29, 2020



Maine CDC reported one additional death of a person with COVID-19, bringing the state death total to 141.

The person who died was a woman in her 80s from York County.

"Let's all pause to remember those who are no longer with us," Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said Tuesday.

Maine CDC has not yet said the age and county of residence of the person who died.

Of the 5,337 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 4,777 are confirmed by test and 560 are probable.

Among Maine's total cases are 1,056 healthcare workers.

447 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness. Eight people in Maine are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with five being treated in intensive care units and one on a ventilator.

 4,629 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

Abbot Laboratories to increase testing availability in Maine

Abbott Laboratories, which is based in Westbrook, has recently received approval from the FDA on a new testing device called BinaxNOW testing. 

Maine will soon be receiving about 26,000 BinaxNOW tests. Subsequent allocations will be made to Maine throughout the year.

"The bottom line here is that the availability of at least 26,000 initial tests using this rapid testing platform represents a welcome addition to the types of tests that are already available in Maine," Dr. Shah said. "These particular tests have the benefit of returning a result within approximately fifteen minutes, if not sooner. They can, as I mentioned, also be used in a variety of settings given that the testing device itself is rather small and self contained. All of these advancements mean that we will be able to continue offering greater and greater availability of testing options to as many individuals in Maine as we can." 

Dr. Shah said the federal government and the U.S. CDC have recommended that one of the principle use cases for the new tests be in and among schools. Dr. Shah said the tests will helpful if students or teachers exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day.

"Having that early look at what might be happening at the school level when someone starts exhibiting symptoms helps public health folks at my agency get a quicker sense of what might be happening. If the test returns positive, that takes us down one pathway. If it returns a negative result, that immediately takes us down a separate pathway," Dr. Shah said. 

New Outbreaks

There are a total of four cases at Massabesic Middle School in Waterboro.

There are 11 cases among people associated with the Little Lambs Learning Center in Springvale. Dr. Shah noted that the facility voluntarily closed its doors in mid-September, and all staff and patients were notified early on. Maine CDC is working with the facility as they prepare to reopen their doors.

Outbreak Updates

There are a total of 18 cases associated with Sanford High School. Maine CDC and Maine DHHS have been working very closely with the school's leadership to stand up a testing site for people associated with the high school community. Roughly 900 samples were collected last week. Of those 900 samples, there were an additional three positive cases detected, bringing the total associated with the high school to 18.

There are a total of nine COVID-19 cases associated with Pinnacle Health and Rehab at Sanford.

No additional positive cases were reported at the ND Paper mill in Rumford, after the facility recently finished another round of universal testing. However, Dr. Shah did note that all of the samples have not been fully analyzed. There remain 23 cases and one death among people associated with the mill.

Credit: NCM


Maine CDC did not report any additional deaths of people with COVID-19, meaning the state death total remains at 140.

Of the 5,300 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 4,755 are confirmed by test and 545 are probable.

446 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness.

4,599 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

Credit: NCM




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