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Real-time Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 updates: 62 dead, 1,330 cases, 787 recoveries

The Mills administration announced a partnership with IDEXX Laboratories Inc., which will soon allow anyone in Maine suspected of having COVID-19 to receive a test.

MAINE, USA — EVERY NUMBER IS A LIFE: Celebrating the life of loved ones during the faceless anonymity of Maine coronavirus COVID fatalities. 




Latest coronavirus updates for Thursday

12 p.m.

The Maine CDC announced no new deaths of Mainers who tested positive for COVID-19. The state death toll remains at 62.

The Maine CDC is now reporting 1,330 cases, 1,231 of which are confirmed by test and 99 of which are probable.

Of the 1,231 confirmed cases in Maine, 787 Mainers have recovered.

192 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness. There are currently 39 Mainers hospitalized due to COVID-19, 16 of whom are being treated in intensive care and 11 of whom are on ventilators.

There are now 12 residents and one staff member at the Springbrook Center nursing home in Westbrook.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said the Tyson food plant facility in Portland has completed their cleaning process and has informed the Maine CDC they plan to reopen. 51 employees at the plant have tested positive for COVID-19.

RELATED: Portland food plant set to reopen after 51 workers tested positive for coronavirus, COVID-19

Governor Janet Mills announced Thursday that her administration has secured a major expansion of COVID-19 testing for the state. The administration has partnered with Maine-based IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. to purchase enough of the company’s recently authorized COVID-19 testing kits to more than triple the state’s testing capacity. The breakthrough will soon allow anyone in Maine suspected of having COVID-19 to receive a test.

RELATED: 'This is a game-changer': Mills announces 'major' expansion for COVID-19 testing

“This changes everything,” Mills said. “Acquiring this testing capacity is a major breakthrough for all the people of Maine. We have worked closely with IDEXX over the last month to position the state to benefit from this new and exciting product. Now we are poised to more than triple the State’s testing capacity, remove testing barriers for health care providers, and make sure that anyone who needs a test can get one."

RELATED: Maine lab IDEXX gets FDA Emergency Use Authorization for its coronavirus test

This significant expansion of testing will ultimately allow Maine CDC to eliminate its testing prioritization system, which most states have had to implement as a result of the limited national supply of testing materials. 

After testing with the new instrument and materials is operational, which is expected as early as the end of next week, health care providers in Maine will be able to seek testing for anyone they suspect of having COVID-19. This includes people with symptoms, as well as those who have had significant, close contact with a person with COVID-19, such as a spouse. 

The breakthrough will also allow the state to more fully implement universal testing in congregate care settings, such as nursing facilities and shelters, and enable the State to work with providers to conduct voluntary sentinel testing, or “spot checks”, on patients in different parts of the health care system.

"I just want to underscore this isn't just something that we thought about and happened," Dr. Shah said. "It's really the result of weeks upon weeks of deliberate thinking, planning, and partnership. That's why we're delighted to announce that today."

"My communications director last night, he was out fishing. When we got the news he almost lost his trout on the line. That's how exciting it was," Mills said.

Credit: NCM

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Dr. 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. 

NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube Coronavirus Playlist

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