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Real-time Maine coronavirus COVID-19 updates: Maine CDC reports three additional deaths, all in Cumberland County

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Thursday, May 28, 2020



4:30 p.m.

3 p.m.

1:30 p.m.

The daily Maine CDC coronavirus briefing has been moved to a Zoom format as a result of a shift to virtual operations. Seven Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Maine CDC, and Maine National Guard employees, which all work out of the MEMA facility in Augusta, are being tested for COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms Wednesday night. 

MEMA Director Peter Rogers said those symptoms include a higher-than-normal temperature, as well as aches and pains.

MEMA says Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, Gov. Janet Mills, Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew, and Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson, who were all at the Wednesday briefing, haven't been in close contact with the employees experiencing symptoms.

"Even though it's a workplace, it's a large workplace," Dr. Shah said, adding that they are primarily using Zoom rather than interacting face-to-face.

Dr. Shah said Maine CDC and MEMA conducted influenza pandemic response exercises as recently as a month before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Maine, adding that these exercises are very similar to the response to the coronavirus pandemic. He said those exercises were helpful now that a similar situation has arisen. 

Test results are expected within 24 hours.

12:30 p.m.

Four COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites will open across Maine on Friday at CVS. The sites will be in Augusta, Biddeford, Portland, and South Portland.

12 p.m.

The Maine CDC is reporting three additional COVID-19-related deaths. Of the 2,189 total cases, 1,951 are confirmed and 238 are probable.

A total of 84 Mainers who have tested positive for COVID-19 have now died.

All three of the deaths announced Thursday were people in their 80s from Cumberland County.

The Maine CDC is aware of five cases at Milestone Recovery in Portland. 

The total number of people who have tested positive at Cape Memory Care is 69.

10 a.m. 

MDOL will be pausing benefits for 48 hours this week and returning to its normal 10-14 day processing time for initial claims to address the issue.

The Maine Department of Education says it will follow federal and state CDC guidelines to determine when and how a return to classrooms may be possible.



Dr. Nirav Shah made clear that when the Maine CDC reports deaths, they are reporting that someone has died who had been confirmed positive with COVID-19, not the cause of death specifically. The cause of death determination is left to the medical examiner.  

According to Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, as of a few days ago, there were roughly 2,900 Mainers tested each week. This includes people tested through the state lab in Augusta, as well as large commercial testing companies like LabCorp. Dr. Shah said right now, the positivity rate is over 5%, meaning for every 100 people tested, about 5 or 6 are positive. Compared to other states, whose positivity rates are 10 or 15%, Maine is doing better, Dr. Shah says. He says he'd like to see Maine's positivity rate around 2%, which is what South Korea's is. To do that, Dr. Shah says testing must increase two or three-fold.



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.

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