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Real-time coronavirus, COVID-19 updates: Friday, April 17

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Friday April 17, 2020




2 p.m.: Gov. Janet Mills and Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah provide coronavirus updates for Thursday

The Maine CDC announced three new deaths due to COVID-19: 

  • Woman in her 70s from Waldo County
  • Man in his 70s from York County
  • Woman in her 80s from York County

"These passings happen on a day when there are over 640,000 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, including over 30,000 deaths nationwide," Dr. Shah said. "as always, this is an important time to remember, that even though we talk about cases and numbers, numbers which are sometimes staggering, each and every one of these cases is a person."

There has been an increase of 26 cases since Wednesday, bringing the state total to 796.

Community transmission is now confirmed in Androscoggin County. Cumberland, York, and Penobscot Counties had previously been identified as having community transmission. 

The Maine CDC continues to track the five outbreak at long-term care facilities across the state:

  • Just a few hours ago, Maine CDC learned of a new outbreak at a senior living facility called Falmouth By the Sea, and they are in the beginning of their investigation. Three residents and one staff member have tested positive for COVID-19. A shipment of PPE was immediately shipped to the facility.
  • Tall Pines in Waldo County: There has been an increase of 10 cases since Wednesday. The bulk of the new cases is among residents, with eight, and two are among staff. In total, there are 35 individuals among staff and residents with COVID-19. 
  • The Cedars in Portland: Three residents and two staff members have confirmed positive cases, and the Maine CDC is awaiting results from a large number of tests. Dr. Shah says they are expecting those results by Friday.
  • Augusta Center for Health and Rehabilitation: There is one new case since Wednesday, which is a staff member. The total number of cases is 70: 45 are residents and 25 are staff. 
  • Maine Veterans' Home in Scarborough: There are three new cases since Wednesday, for a total of 41 cases among residents and staff. Thursday morning the Maine CDC received results from a separate unit within Maine Vets that had tested, and all of those results came back negative. "This is a testament to what quick, concise, and data-informed infection control practices can do during an outbreak setting, and prevent that outbreak from spreading across a facility more widely," Dr. Shah said.

"One of the things we know about outbreaks, is that they are in a sense a stress test on the health care system, and they don't create cracks in the health care system, so much as they do reveal them."

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  • The Maine CDC is reporting three additional deaths due to COVID-19. There are 796 confirmed cases, 333 have recovered, and a total of 27 people have died. 
  • There are 47 people currently hospitalized, 20 are in critical care and seven are on a ventilator.
Credit: NCM

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Thursday's briefing will begin at 2 p.m. with Dr. Nirav Shah and Governor Janet Mills



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) announced on Tuesday, March 10 that they would be holding daily coronavirus briefings with director Dr. Nirav Shah to keep the public up to date on the situation in Maine. 

NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube Coronavirus Playlist