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Real-time Maine coronavirus updates: Tuesday, October 20

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Tuesday, October 20, 2020

MAINE, USA — KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20

Maine CDC did not report any additional deaths of people with COVID-19. The state death toll remains at 146.

Of the 5,989 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 5,341 are confirmed by test and 648 are probable.

469 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illnesses.

5,206 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

Dr. Shah

At the CDC briefing, Dr. Shah said there are currently nine people hospitalized with COVID-19, one of whom is in the ICU, and none of whom are on ventilators.

Dr. Shah says the Maine CDC recently opened two new outbreak investigations:

St. Mary's d'Youville Pavilion in Lewiston: There are three cases among employees at the rehabilitation and long-term care facility. The cases were identified through the State-sponsored testing protocol for employees of long term care facilities, which has been in place so long term care facilities can ideally identify cases among employees before they spread within the facility. 

Waldo County: There are 42 cases now identified in the outbreak associated with the Brooks Pentecostal Church and its affiliated school, Lighthouse Christian Academy, in Brooks. Cases range in people from 2 years old to 80 years old. Dr. Shah says based on what the Maine CDC knows right now, they expect the number of cases associated with this outbreak to "increase significantly." 

RELATED: 42 coronavirus cases now associated with outbreak linked to Waldo County church

Approximately 100 to 150 attended a Brooks Pentecostal Church fellowship gathering from roughly Oct. 2-4. Dr. Shah says he and the Maine CDC were told the event was primarily held indoors, with some activities held outdoors. Dr. Shah says individuals from other churches attended the gathering, including the Charleston Church, the Quaker Hill Church, as well as members from the Faith Bible College in Charleston. Dr. Shah as they understand it, masks were available but not routinely used during the event.

The Brooks Pentecostal Church itself held indoor services, which included between 70 and 100 individuals. The church indicated to the Maine CDC that masks were available but not routinely used at the service.

The Books church has temporarily suspended service, per Maine CDC's recommendation. 

The church's affiliated school, Lighthouse Christian Academy, which shares property with the church, has a total of 27 students, ranging from Kindergarten to high school. Data right now indicates seven of the 42 cases are associated with the school. 

Cases associated with this outbreak have been detected in other areas of Waldo County:

  • Bayview Manor in Searsport, a long term care facility: One case in an employee. The facility is undergoing universal testing among staff and residents. 
  • Four schools across to Regional School Districts (RSU): Ames Elementary School (RSU 71) in Searsmont; The Captain Albert Stevens School in Belfast (RSU 71); Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast (RSU 71); and Mt. View Elementary School in Thorndike (RSU 3). 

Dr. Shah emphasizes there are not outbreaks at these schools—there are individual cases at these schools linked to the church outbreak. At this time, the Maine CDC does not believe there has been COVID-19 transmission in these public schools. The Maine CDC and Maine DHHS are working directly with the schools to contact trace so they can be monitored for symptoms and recommend them for testing. 

The investigation remains underway.

Gov. Mills

Gov. Mills joined the briefing Tuesday, beginning by comparing Maine's statistics to the rest of the country, saying Maine has been largely successful in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Mills highlighted that businesses have been able to gradually reopen, visitors have been welcomed back to the state in the summer and fall, case numbers and positivity rates have remained among the lowest in the country, and the economy is gradually rebounding. Mills says the unemployment rate is down to 6.1 percent as of Tuesday. 

Mills says given these positive trends and a sense of "getting back to normal" it can be easy to let your guard down. But Mills urged Mainers to remain vigilant and keep practicing precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

"It's not that anyone involved in these outbreaks is malicious," Mills said, "but the stark reality is anyone can cause an outbreak."

Testing and executive orders cannot prevent new cases or a new outbreak, Mills said. 

"Each of us must take responsibility for the trajectory of the virus in Maine. Every social interaction is a risk because the virus is everywhere. It's in every county, every community, and it affects every age group. We have to continue to fight it with everything we've got," Mills said. 

"We will not give up our fight against this virus, we will not give up on each other, we will not surrender. We will do everything it takes to keep our communities and our people safe—and we will rise a stronger people and a stronger state," Mills said. "So stick with me, stick with us, keep the faith, and stay safe."

Watch the complete briefing here:

Credit: NCM

MONDAY, OCTOBER 19

Maine CDC did not report any additional deaths of people with COVID-19. The state death toll remains at 146.

Of the 5,962 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 5,323 of are confirmed by test and 639 are probable.

469 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illnesses.

 5,175 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

Credit: NCM

Last week's COVID-19 updates

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) is holding coronavirus briefings on Tuesdays and Thursdays with director Dr. Nirav Shah to keep the public up to date on the situation in Maine

NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube COVID-19 Playlist