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Real-time Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 updates: Internet secured for nearly 22,000 students Maine

Nearly 1,000 Mainers have recovered from COVID-19, coronavirus out of 1,437 total confirmed cases in Maine.

MAINE, USA — EVERY NUMBER IS A LIFE: Celebrating the life of loved ones during the faceless anonymity of Maine coronavirus COVID fatalities. 

KEY MAINE CORONAVIRUS FACTS

FRIDAY MAY 15

2 p.m.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah provides coronavirus update. Commissioner Pender Makin of the Maine Department of Education is also at the briefing to answer questions. We are broadcasting the briefing live on-air as well as streaming here and on our mobile app, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.

The Maine CDC is reporting an increase of 38 cases since Thursday for a total of 1,603 total cases: 1,437 are confirmed and 166 are probable. 

Thirty-five people are currently in the hospital: 16 are in intensive care, and 19 are in non-intensive care. Eight individuals are currently on ventilators. 

Of the 1,603 total cases, 354 are among health care workers. 

The Maine CDC is continuing to set up its lab for expanded testing capabilities, and Dr. Shah says by Monday the lab will be online with the new testing materials and reagents provided by IDEXX.

RELATED: State teams with IDEXX to expand coronavirus, COVID-19 testing

Dr. Shah says in addition to the Maine CDC investigating the accuracy of Abbott Labs' rapid testing device, the US FDA has raised questions about its accuracy. Dr. Shah says that what they do know is that positive results are accurate, but for negative results in general, the science is still out. If a physician has a patient whose clinical suspicion for COVID-19 is high, meaning they show symptoms, they should interpret a negative result from the Abbott test with a question mark, and treat them as if they are positive. The Maine CDC also requests that they send another swab sample to the state lab for confirmation. 

RELATED: FDA gives White House new guidance on rapid COVID-19 test

The State has already received 10 cases of the drug remdesivir from the federal government—which has already been distributed to hospitals—and this morning was given notice that Maine would be receiving an additional seven cases today. The shipment came in and is already being transported to hospitals across the state. 

Overall, the seven cases are expected to treat approximately 35 patients. Studies have shown that the drug is effective in helping severe cases of COVID-19. 

RELATED: VERIFY: What is remdesivir?

There are now two additional facilities with outbreaks that have now gone more than one incubation period without recording any new COVID-19 cases. Dr. Shah says this is a brand new development and he will have more information about that later today or tomorrow. 

The Maine CDC had identified a new outbreak at the Durgin Pines long-term care facility in Kittery. There are three confirmed cases at the facility. 

Commissioner Pender Makin of the Maine Department of Education announced the State has secured internet connectivity for nearly 22,000 Maine students who previously had no way to connect for remote learning. 

Makin says 100% of the students who have reported through their schools a lack of connectivity have now been connected through this effort. 

RELATED: Internet access secured for nearly 22,000 Maine students

Makin says the Department of Education has purchased six months' worth of connectivity service for students who needed connectivity. The top priority, Makin says, is to get students back to school for in-person instruction when it's safe, but are preparing for all scenarios.

12 p.m.

The Maine CDC is reporting 1,603 total cases: 1,437 are confirmed and 166 are probable.

The number of people who have died with COVID-19 remains at 69. 

A total of 993 people have recovered. There are 211 cumulative hospitalizations.

Credit: NCM

THURSDAY UPDATES

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

MAINE CDC BRIEFINGS

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