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Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 updates for Monday, June 29: Maine CDC investigates BIW outbreak

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Monday, June 29, 2020.



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A woman in her 60s from Kennebec County has died with COVID-19, marking the 105th coronavirus-related death in Maine. 

There are currently 31 Mainers who are hospitalized due to their illness, eight of whom are in intensive care and four are on ventilators. 

Of the 3,219 total cases, 803 are among health care workers.

The Maine CDC is working on investigating an outbreak at Bath Iron Works (BIW), where there are three cases associated with the facility. All three workers carpool together and have spent time inside the facility until June 18 or 19. 

The Maine CDC and BIW are working closely together to contract trace and test. With regards to testing, Dr. Shah said their approach right now is on an exposure basis by department. BIW is doing its own internal contact tracing to determine who's been potentially exposed. Testing will be done based on that determination. Dr. Shah said in total, 53 individuals have so far been identified on that internal contact tracing list.

RELATED: Maine CDC identifies COVID-19 outbreak at BIW with three confirmed cases

Another round of universal testing will be done at the Sedgewood Commons nursing home facility in Falmouth, where an outbreak was reported last week. All the affected patients were largely in one unit, Dr. Shah says, and patients in other units who may have been exposed have been moved to a single unit.

Dr. Shah says an additional five cases of remdesivir, a drug used to treat those with severe cases of COVID-19, is expected to arrive today and will then be shipped out to hospitals statewide. 

The Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC) Commissioner Randall Liberty said they are approximately 80 percent done with universal testing at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland. The decision to universally test at the facility came after one of the clients in the process of releasing from the facility tested positive for COVID-19. 

RELATED: Universal COVID-19 testing underway at Long Creek in South Portland

In a press release on Sunday, the MDOC said, "The minor, who was asymptomatic for the duration of their detainment at LCYDC, was tested on June 26 ahead of their scheduled release into the community that day."

Liberty said the individual who tested positive is a 16-year-old girl who had been at Long Creek for 21 days. Liberty said she was tested the day before she was released, and the positive result was known the day after she was released.

Liberty said in the briefing on Monday that all 35 of the youth offenders that are in their care have been tested and most of the staff have been tested. Liberty said there are 187 staff members at Long Creek. The results are pending.

When asked about whether the MDOC would consider universal testing for all facilities, Liberty said that would mean testing around 3,000 people. Liberty said they are continuing to follow Maine CDC testing recommendations such as testing those who are symptomatic, those who are arriving, departing, and transferring. 

"We feel as though that has provided a safe environment for both our staff and for our offenders," Liberty said. 

Liberty said they are taking extra precautions at the facility until the testing is complete and results are known. The results will shape their future actions, Liberty said.

12 p.m.

The Maine CDC reports an additional person has died with COVID-19, bringing Maine's death toll to 105. 

  • Total cases = 3,221
  • Confirmed cases = 2,861
  • Probable cases = 360
  • Cumulative hospitalizations = 348
  • Recovered = 2,593
  • Deaths = 105

Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah is expected to hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Monday to discuss the latest coronavirus developments. Commissioner Randall Liberty of the Maine Department of Corrections will join the briefing remotely to answer questions. 

The briefing will be broadcasted on NEWS CENTER Maine channels 2 and 6, live-streamed on our website, mobile app, as well as on our Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitter feed.

9 a.m.



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 COVID-19 Playlist

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