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Real-time Maine coronavirus updates: Dr. Shah asked during briefing about how protests could affect spread of COVID-19

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Tuesday, June 2, 2020.



2 p.m.

The Maine CDC reported 5 additional deaths of people who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state death total to 94.

The five additional cases reported Tuesday were:

  • A woman in her 70s from Cumberland County
  • A woman in her 70s from Cumberland County
  • A man in his 60s from Penobscot County
  • A man in his 70s from Cumberland County
  • A woman in her 100s from Cumberland County

Of the 2,377 COVID-19 cases in Maine, 2,118 are confirmed by test and 259 are probable (meaning someone who has not tested positive but has been in close contact with someone who has).

The Maine CDC announced 60 additional recoveries, bringing the number of Mainers who have recovered from COVID-19 to 1,646.

287 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness. 48 people in Maine are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 16 being treated in intensive care units and 10 on ventilators.

The Maine CDC is working the Portland Family Shelter to help them as much as possible in many different regards. The Maine CDC continues its investigation there.

The Maine CDC said it will continue to receive results from the testing of individuals associated with the Proctor and Gamble facility in Auburn. The number of positive cases there is currently seven and the Maine CDC is continuing its investigation.

The number of cases at Cape Memory Care in Cape Elizabeth is currently 83 -- 60 among residents and 23 among staff.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Tuesday that it is launching a new statewide "Keep it Maine" campaign to emphasize the continued importance of public health measures that limit the spread of COVID-19, including physical distancing, wearing of cloth face coverings, and hand hygiene.

The campaign includes social media and digital ads that will begin this week, followed in mid-June by television ads and a new website with shareable and printable educational materials for Maine people and businesses. DHHS also plans to provide translated campaign materials to ensure its message reaches as broad an audience as possible.

“Maine people and businesses have limited the spread of COVID-19 by keeping to the Maine values that tie us together,” DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said. “We stay the course and we work together to do what’s right for our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. The campaign’s theme is built around this shared achievement. Let’s keep it up. Let’s keep it Maine.”

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said the seven employees at the MEMA facility who were tested last week have recovered and tested negative for other respiratory illnesses.

When asked about whether he is concerned about COVID-19 spreading during protests that have occurred throughout the country in response to the death of George Floyd, Dr. Shah said he can't speculate. However, he did reinforce the importance of wearing a mask and maintaining as much physical distance from others as possible. Dr. Shah said no matter the situation, the more face coverings the better.

Dr. Shah said not enough time has elapsed yet to know whether protests will lead to outbreaks. He said the Maine CDC's goal is to keep tabs on the data to know if any trends arise.

Dr. Shah said identifying asymptomatic people is crucial to identifying and reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Credit: NCM



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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