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Real-time Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 updates: Saturday, April 11

616 confirmed cases and 19 deaths in Maine; Penobscot County has now been identified as having community transmission



Saturday, April 11

6:30 p.m.

Hannaford donates $225,000 to organizations fighting hunger and homelessness in Maine during coronavirus outbreak

4 p.m.

Maine CDC announced that nine people at the Maine Veterans' Homes Scarborough location have tested positive for COVID-19. The release says six staff members and three residents all have the coronavirus. One resident that tested positive has died.

11 a.m.

The Maine CDC reported two additional deaths due to the coronavirus, bringing the state total to 19. 

Cases surpassed 600 with 616 confirmed cases in the state. There have been 256 recoveries and 114 hospitalizations.

Credit: NCM

Friday, April 10 

Maine CDC's update, 2:30 p.m.:

The Maine CDC reported 586 confirmed cases, 246 recoveries, 111 total hospitalizations at some point during their illness, and 17 deaths.

The new death announced Friday was a woman in her 80s from Cumberland County.

In addition to York and Cumberland, community transmission has now been confirmed in Penobscot County.

Credit: NCM

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said there are currently 57 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, 20 of which are in the intensive care unit. 

"All of these numbers, while very important, don’t yet paint the full picture of impact of COVID-19 on Maine people and those who care for them," Dr. Shah said. 

There are 22 positive cases at the Tall Pines retirement community in Waldo County; 19 of the positive cases are residents, and three are staff. The Maine CDC said they delivered 72 hours worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the facility to help with the outbreak, and is working to pull a larger order together in the coming weeks. 

There has also been an outbreak at a rehab facility in Augusta, where four residents have tested positive. The state is currently delivering the facility an emergency order of PPE. 

The federal government changed course on the number of rapid point-of-care testing kits made by Abbott Labs Maine would be receiving. While initially they said the state would be getting 100 test kits, Maine will actually only be getting five. Martin's Point Health Care is donating five of the kits they have received to the state, effectively doubling the state's capacity to perform rapid tests. 

Dr. Shah said the Abbott tests would be used in the areas most needed for patients in congregate settings, such as for those who are homeless. 

Thanking Martin's Point, Dr. Shah said, “This is exactly the sort of public-private partnership that makes me proud to be working in Maine right now."

Gov. Janet Mills also spoke at the briefing, commenting on the current power outages across the state. She said MEMA is assisting to help expedite power restoration, giving priority to hospitals and health facilities that are without power. 

Mills said 100 people are being hired and trained to help answer unemployment phone calls, which continues to be a problem for the thousands filing claims across the state. 

When asked about the possibility of lifting restrictions if the curve appears to be flattening, Mills said: "We don’t know that the curve is flattened, it takes a very long time to analyze ‘the curve’ and the progression of this infection, and we’re not safe right now. We’re not safe to lift any of the restrictions that were imposed. We’ve got to stay the course, stay apart, to be safe in the long run…there’s no timeline on […] this virus. There’s no timeline on lifting the restrictions, yet. That’s why I’m cautioning patience, courage, and compassion.”

Mills said she has drafted an Executive Order regarding rescheduling the state's June primary election and expects to send it out later Friday.


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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.

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