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Real-time Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 updates: Tuesday, May 19

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

MAINE, USA — EVERY NUMBER IS A LIFE: Celebrating the life of loved ones during the faceless anonymity of Maine coronavirus COVID-19 fatalities. 



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Three additional people have died with COVID-19, Dr. Shah announced in the briefing Tuesday:

  • A woman in her 90s from Cumberland County
  • A woman in her 80s from Cumberland County
  • A man in his 40s from Cumberland County

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said one death reported over the weekend was somebody who tested positive for COVID-19 in April, recovered, and then passed away. The Maine CDC is not considering that death to be a death due to COVID-19, which is why the state death total is 73.

Dr. Shah said the total number of cases at Bristol Seafood in Portland is now 13.

There are now a total of 42 cases at Springbrook Center in Westbrook. 

Dr. Shah said the Maine CDC has been working closely with Cianbro Construction, which had an outbreak at a site in Augusta. The company said it will be stopping all work at that site for up to 14 days. The total number of cases affiliated with that construction site stands at 19. The Maine CDC is continuing its investigation into the outbreak.

Dr. Shah said the Maine CDC is aware of a number of cases at the 100 State Street apartment building in Portland. He said the Maine CDC is concerned about the health and well-being of a number of people who live there who may be particularly at risk, so they are working with the facility to test those who need it.

The Maine CDC will soon be receiving a third shipment of remdesivir - or enough for roughly 40 patients. Dr. Shah said they don't yet know exactly when it will arrive but that it will be allocated to hospitals across the state.

86 percent of the Maine CDC's most recent shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) went to congregate care facilities across the state.

Governor Janet Mills' administration announced Tuesday the following updates to its plan to restart Maine’s economy: 1) Maine residents may enjoy campgrounds beginning Memorial Day weekend; and 2) the administration is delaying the full reopening of gyms, fitness centers, and nail salons in light of emerging research and experiences in other states of COVID-19 transmission related to these establishments.

“We believe allowing private campgrounds to open with strict health and safety precautions to Maine residents minimizes risks while supporting mental and physical health, particularly during the long Memorial Day weekend,” Mills said. “We also believe that it is appropriate to delay the reopening of gyms and nail salons, both of which appear to present a greater risk of transmission of the virus based on emerging science and the experiences of other states. It is important that the plan remain flexible and that we take steps to update it when necessary in order to both protect public health and support our economy.”

RELATED: Mills revises reopening plan ahead of Memorial Day weekend

11:45 a.m.

The Maine CDC announced two additional deaths of people who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state total to 73.

Of the now 1,741 COVID-19 cases in Maine, 1,561 are confirmed by test and 180 are probable (meaning someone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive).

1,088 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

225 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness. Of the 44 Mainers currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, 19 are being treated in intensive care and 11 are on ventilators.

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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. 

NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube Coronavirus Playlist

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