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Real-time Maine coronavirus updates: CDC partnering with MDI Hospital on pilot project

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Tuesday, August 4, 2020.

MAINE, USA — KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

TUESDAY, AUGUST 4

After reporting 124 deaths on Monday of people in Maine who have tested positive for COVID-19, the Maine CDC adjusted its tally to 123 on Tuesday.

Maine CDC Communications Director Robert Long sent the following clarification to NEWS CENTER Maine for why the death count decreased:

As part of an investigation that Maine CDC does on all cases, we determined that the death of a Cumberland County resident which was originally classified as related to COVID-19 does not meet the criteria to be a COVID-related death. As a result, the cumulative total of deaths related to COVID-19 among Maine residents decreased today from 124 to 123. The cumulative total of hospitalizations also decreased by one as a result of the investigation involving the same individual. 

Of the 3,975 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 3,548 are confirmed by test and 427 are probable.

905 of Maine's total cases have been among healthcare workers.

388 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness.

3,424 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

MDI Hospital Pilot Project

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said he and Maine DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew held a meeting with officials from MDI Hospital on Tuesday.

In a recent Facebook post, the hospital said it is hearing from tourists and people from out-of-state who were tested before traveling here and got a positive result back after arriving. The hospital says those positive cases are going somewhat undetected in the state because they aren't reflected in the current numbers we see reported.

As a result of the meeting, the Maine CDC is announcing a pilot project under which MDI Hospital will start using Maine CDC's electronic contact tracing system called Sara Alert to enroll close contacts of out-of-state confirmed cases so that they can benefit from the same symptom monitoring that other cases in Maine have already been benefiting from.

Dr. Shah said if you're coming to Maine but you haven't gotten confirmation of a negative test, you should be quarantining -- meaning no contact with anybody you haven't already been seeing.

As of Tuesday morning, there have been 170 positive test results among out-of-state individuals.

Shah Talks Vaccines

Dr. Shah said the Maine CDC often gets questions about vaccines, so he took time to talk about where the nation is in terms of a COVID-19 vaccine. He said about 160 candidate vaccines are being developed and studied right now around the world, with about 27 in human trials. 

Dr. Shah said ideally some of these candidate vaccines will succeed in safely generating an immune response and conferring herd immunity among the population. Dr. Shah said if all of that works, we will be that much closer to some semblance of a pre-COVID-19 world.

Dr. Shah said Maine CDC is currently planning how to enroll and implement a vaccine in the state, so that they're prepared when a vaccine becomes available. Dr. Shah said teams of individuals from Maine CDC have been working for months now with state partners, healthcare providers, and numerous other stakeholders to start thinking about how to offer any COVID-19 vaccine to large numbers of people across the state of Maine quickly, safely, and efficiently.

Dr. Shah said to make sure everyone in your family is up-to-date on all their vaccines. He also recommends checking in with your primary care doctor, so that your relationship with them is reignited and you're ready to go.

Closed Outbreak

On Tuesday morning, the Maine CDC closed the outbreak at Ready Seafood. There had been a total of 11 cases at the facility but the facility is no longer considered to be experiencing an outbreak.

Outbreak Updates

There are now a total of 14 cases at Central Maine Medical Center. The hospital's second round of testing among staff came back and all staff were negative. CMCC is doing another round of testing focused on a different wing of the hospital, and Dr. Shah says he expects those results on either Wednesday or Thursday.

At the Marshwood Center in Lewiston, there are a total of 23 cases. The facility continues to undertake rounds of testing to determine whether both staff and residents are clear of their COVID-19 infections.

At Hancock Foods, there are now a total of 10 cases.

At Merrill Farms, there are a total of nine cases.

The Maine CDC continues to investigate an outbreak at the Walmart in Presque Isle. There remain three positive cases among employees at the store.

New Outbreak

At Wyman's, a farm in Milbridge, there are a total of four cases. Three of these four cases are reflected in Tuesday's case count. Dr. Shah said the facility is undertaking widespread pro-active testing and have already tested nearly 170 people.

Credit: NCM

MONDAY, AUGUST 3

The Maine CDC reported an additional death on Monday, bringing the state total to 124: a man in his 50s from Androscoggin County. Of the 3,970 total cases, 3,541 are confirmed and 429 are positive. 

  • CASES: 3,970
  • DEATHS: 124
  • RECOVERIES: 3,396
  • HOSPITALIZATIONS: 389
  • ACTIVE CASES: 450

SUNDAY, AUGUST 2

Maine CDC released the new COVID-19 numbers

  • CASES: 3,958
  • DEATHS: 123
  • RECOVERIES: 3,387
  • HOSPITALIZATIONS: 388

SATURDAY, AUGUST 1

Saturday's CDC numbers

  • CASES: 3,937
  • DEATHS: 123
  • RECOVERIES: 3,337
  • HOSPITALIZATIONS: 388

FRIDAY, JULY 31

The Maine CDC reported one additional death of a person who tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state death total to 123. The additional death reported Friday was a man in his 60s from Androscoggin County.

The Maine CDC has not yet said the age and county of the additional person who died with COVID-19.

Of the 3,912 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 3,499 are confirmed by test and 413 are probable.

388 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness.

3,361 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

The Maine Department of Education updated its Framework for Returning to Class Instruction on Friday, and classified all 16 Maine counties as having a relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread.

The department said prior to releasing its classifications that each county would be classified as either green, yellow, or red zones, based on the risk of COVID-19 spread.

All counties were classified as green. 

The classifications were by Maine's Health Advisory System, which is a collaboration among the Maine DOE, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC). 

Here's how the classifications work:

  • Green: relatively low risk of COVID-19 spread. Schools can consider in-person instruction with required health and safety measures.
  • Yellow: elevated risk of COVID-19 spread. Schools should consider hybrid instructional models to try to limit the number of people in classrooms at the same time.
  • Red: high risk of COVID-19 spread. In-person instruction is not advised.

The Maine DOE noted that the circumstances could change between now and the official start of the school year, and said it will be updated every two weeks, serving as one piece of information that school and district leaders can use to make decisions about how to deliver education this fall.

More on this can be found HERE.

RELATED: All 16 Maine counties get initial go-ahead for in-person instruction in schools

THE DATA

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.

RESOURCES

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 COVID-19 Playlist