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Tuesday: 6 additional deaths, 411 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Maine

Find developments on the Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak as we work together to separate facts from fear. Tuesday, December 15, 2020.

MAINE, USA — KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15

The Maine CDC reported six additional deaths of people with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 265 deaths.

The six additional deaths were:

  • A man in his 80s from Androscoggin County
  • A man in his 60s from Androscoggin County
  • A man in his 70s from Cumberland County
  • A woman in her 70s from Cumberland County
  • A woman in her 90s from Hancock County
  • A man in his 80s from York County

The Maine CDC reported 411 additional COVID-19 cases.

Of the 16,760 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 14,690 are confirmed by tests and 2,070 are probable.

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

10,614 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

The next Maine CDC state coronavirus update is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Credit: NCM

MONDAY, DECEMBER 14

The Maine CDC reported two additional deaths of people with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 259 deaths.

The additional deaths reported Monday were a man in his 80s from York County and a woman in her 80s from York County.

The Maine CDC reported 426 additional COVID-19 cases.

Of the 16,349 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 14,339 are confirmed by tests and 2,010 are probable.

1,967 of Maine's total cases have been among healthcare workers.

According to Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, over the past week there has been an average of more than 200,000 new cases of COVID-19 each day in the U.S., an increase of 30 percent compared to the average just two weeks ago.

893 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illnesses. 198 people in Maine are currently hospitalized with the virus. 56 are being treated in intensive care units and seventeen are on ventilators.

10,548 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

The first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrived Monday morning at Northern Light Mercy Hospital and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. Northern Light Health says they anticipate more doses arriving at AR Gould in Presque Isle later Monday or Tuesday. Dr. Shah said there are very intricate and detailed plans for how Maine CDC will work with long-term care facilities to vaccinate residents and staff. 

"The hope is that by focusing on, say, frontline healthcare providers as well as nursing home and long-term care facility staff and residents, outbreaks can be held to a minimum," Dr. Shah said Monday. "They will unfortunately still happen and that's a difficult reality but even with a highly effective vaccine and high vaccine coverage rates, there may still be outbreaks. But our hope is that the number and the magnitude of those outbreaks is lower. It also means that hospitals, particularly healthcare workers, may not face the same, say, for example, staffing crunches."

"By any measure, today is a day to remember. The arrival of vaccine in Maine represents a significant positive development. A milestone in a process to begin planning for arrival of vaccine that Maine CDC started undertaking back in April. A process that accelerated over the summer, and then began focusing on the last mile in the fall, and in the last recent few weeks the final remaining inches," Dr. Shah said Monday. "The arrival of this vaccine in Maine represents a light at the end of the tunnel. But even when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, it's important to remember that you're still in a tunnel and blue skies remain a ways away. Hard decisions have been made to get us here and, sadly, even harder ones are likely to be in the offing."

Both Dr. Shah and Gov. Janet Mills are urging Mainers not to let their guard down when it comes to COVID-19 precautions. Mills released the following statement Monday in response to the arrival of the first doses:

“Today, the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Maine and will be administered to frontline health care workers across the state. This news is a much-needed beacon of hope in an otherwise difficult time. This logistical feat is the result of months of collaboration by Maine hospital systems, health care officials, long term care facilities, pharmacies, the Federal government, the Maine CDC and DHHS, and others. I thank all of them for their efforts to protect the health and safety of Maine people.

The arrival of this initial shipment is just the beginning of what will be a months long process to receive, distribute, and administer this vaccine, and other new vaccines, as they become available. We will do this in the quickest, most efficient, and most equitable manner possible.

While our spirits are lifted and we share in a collective sense of relief, particularly for frontline health care workers who are exhausted and have been working around the clock to save lives, it will take months to administer the vaccine to all Maine people and we must keep our guard up. I urge Maine people in the strongest terms: wear your masks, watch your distance, avoid gatherings, and wash your hands – to protect yourselves, your loved ones, and your fellow Maine citizens as we undertake this critical process.”

Dr. Shah also emphasized that flu season is not over, adding that it's not too late to get a flu shot. 

"If you haven't done that, that's probably one of the best things that you can do today to protect you and everyone around you from the flu, which is still with us," he said. "Even though COVID-19 may be what's top of mind, influenza is still out there."

Dr. Shah also emphasized the importance of checking your health insurance status and being prepared for the unexpected. Open enrollment for a healthcare plan through healthcare.gov ends Tuesday, Dec. 15.

"Even if you're not sure what your healthcare needs will be in 2021, don't miss the opportunity to sign up for health insurance right now," he said. "If you are not sure what coverage you may qualify for, visit coverme.gov to learn more about affordable healthcare options through both MaineCare, as well as through healthcare.gov. You can even pick up the phone and call Consumers for Affordable Healthcare Helpline at 1-800-965-7476."

New Outbreak Investigations

Credit: NCM

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13

The Maine CDC reported 303 additional cases and no additional deaths.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12

The Maine CDC reported seven additional deaths of people with COVID-19. The state death toll stands at 257 deaths.

The Maine CDC reported 414 additional COVID-19 cases.

Of the 15,620 total COVID-19 cases in Maine, 13,687 are confirmed by tests and 1,933 are probable.

871 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illnesses. Currently, 182 Mainers are hospitalized with COVID-19. 50 of those people are in critical care and 16 are on ventilators. 

10,477 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19.

FRIDAY MAINE CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

THE DATA

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