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Maine Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates: Monday, April 13

Maine CDC reports 698 confirmed cases, 273 recoveries, and 19 deaths due to COVID-19. Of the 65 new cases, 48 are related to long-term care facilities.

MAINE, USA — KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

LATEST CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

MONDAY APRIL 13

The Maine CDC announced on its website there are now 698 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maine, an increase of 65 cases since Sunday. A large part of the increase is related to a number of outbreaks that the Maine CDC is working on across the state. Of the 65 new cases, 48 are related to long-term care facilities. Of the cases at long-term care facilities, 13 are health care workers, and 35 are residents of the facilities.

19 people in Maine who have tested positive have died. 

124 people in Maine who have tested positive have been hospitalized at some point during their illness; 61 individuals are currently hospitalized. Dr. Shah said 22 are currently in ICU beds. As of Monday morning, nine individuals are on ventilators due to COVID-19.

273 people in Maine have fully recovered from the virus.

Dr. Shah said 110 health care workers statewide are among those who have tested positive. Since community transmission is present in three counties (Cumberland, York, and Penobscot), Dr. Shah said it's hard to know if any one health care worker could have acquired the coronavirus in the community and brought it into the facility, or vice versa. That investigation is underway, but at this point, they don't have good insight into that.

Credit: NCM

Maine CDC says at the Tall Pines facility in Waldo County there are 19 residents and four staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. Two people associated with the Tall Pines facility have died. 

The Maine Veterans' Home facility in Scarborough has a total of 32 positive cases: 26 residents and six staff members. Dr. Shah said the bulk of the individuals who have been tested there are asymptomatic. 

"I'd just like to pause for a moment and note that the residents of this veterans' home are individuals who provided selfless service to this country during this time of need," Dr. Shah said in the briefing, "and it is our intention to do the same for them now."

In Augusta at the Center for Health and Rehabilitation, there are 55 total cases: 41 are residents and 14 are staff.

"Certainly these numbers, both in terms of the number of cases as well as the number of facilities, seem concerning. But what I think is important to note is that our policy at Maine CDC with respect to testing individuals in long-term care facilities for COVID-19 is very aggressive. As soon as we detect even the faintest light of an outbreak at a long-term care facility, we recommend universal testing across the facility for all staff and all residents the second we detect an outbreak."

"We haven't learned anything in particular about any of these facilities that has suggested to us, based on the COVID-19 outbreak only, that a different course of action should have been pursued," Dr. Shah said. 

The Maine CDC is currently investigating how the outbreaks at the three long-term care facilities began, but said so far they are aware that in at least one instance, and there may be more, where an individual employee had worked at a number of different facilities. "But we haven't identified a single person that unifies all three of these facilities yet, but that is part of our investigatory process," Dr. Shah said.

Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of the Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS), said DHHS will pay nursing facilities for the extra costs associated with COVID-19. The funds will help with increased staffing, the cost of screening, supplies, and personal protective equipment (PPE) beyond what is ordinarily needed. Lambrew said $8.8 million, or a 10% increase, will be sent to nursing facilities.

At Gov. Janet Mills' direction, DHHS and Maine CDC are intensifying their efforts to help long-term care facilities this week. In order to prevent additional outbreaks, every nursing facility in the state--all 93 of them--will be evaluated on their level of preparedness, their gaps, and what more DHHS could be doing together to prevent an outbreak.

"We will not stop until we've protected everyone we can in this pandemic," Lambrew said.

In the past 48 hours, Dr. Shah said the Maine CDC has processed approximately 116 orders for PPE. The orders will be shipped out first thing Tuesday morning. Long-term care facilities will be receiving 77 of those orders.

As of Monday morning, Maine CDC has approximately 48,000 N95 masks, 45,000 surgical masks, 13,000 face shields, 92,000 gloves, about 1,000 surgical protective suits, 19,000 surgical gowns, and 186 coveralls.

"The national stockpile is tapped out, but we ourselves in Maine are taking matters into our own hands and seeking additional PPE so long as we can verify the integrity of the supplier, we are very interested in acquiring more," Dr. Shah said, and there's a team in place vetting potential suppliers to make sure the stock remains healthy.

Touching on the coming storm today, Dr. Shah said, "We recognize that these are tough times. One storm is behind us, another is upon us." Dr. Shah said power outages during pandemics come with additional challenges. As a public service announcement, Dr. Shah reminds people to give workers the space and maintain physical distance as they work to restore power.

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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. You can find all the previous Maine CDC briefings here.

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