Healthcare

Nearly 500 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Maine

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The number of coronavirus vases in Maine has grown to 499 according to Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, who delivered remarks during a press conference Monday morning. This total is 29 cases greater than what was reported by the Maine CDC on Sunday.

Among those nearly 500 confirmed cases, 92 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their illness, 158 have recovered, and 10 people have passed away as a result of COVID-19.

Dr. Shah clarified that community transmission has only been identified in Cumberland and York counties. The Maine CDC announced last week it was investigating the possibility of community transmission in Androscoggin, Kennebec and Penobscot counties. Fifteen of Maine’s 16 counties have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. Piscataquis County remains the only Maine county without a confirmed case of the virus. The first confirmed cases in Washington and Aroostook counties were reported late last week.

The Maine CDC remains prepared to accommodate over 3,000 tests and is in the process of distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to health care workers on the front lines of the virus. Dr. Shah said the agency is working to distribute PPE “fairly and equitably.”

Approximately 75 orders for PPE are being fulfilled and shipped out tomorrow and another 55 orders of PPE are being shipped out on Wednesday. According to Dr. Shah, the Maine CDC is focusing PPE distribution on congregate care facilities where large-scale outbreaks of COVID-19 have occurred across the country.

These distributions come in addition to the 109,000 pieces of PPE – enough to fill seven vans – that were distributed by the state last week. The state does not expect to receive any additional PPE from the federal stockpile and is working with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to bring more Maine manufacturers online to produce PPE, including masks, face shields, shoe coverings and more.

At this time, there are more than 300 beds in intensive care units statewide, 120 of which are available. There are also 320 ventilators statewide of which 268 are available, as well as 200 alternative ventilators. Maine also has 130 respiratory therapists practicing and ready to serve the public.

Dr. Shah closed his remarks Monday by thanking health care workers for their courage and resolve during this public health crisis.

 “We recognize the risk you are taking and we commend your courage. Thank you for doing everything that you are doing. There are simply not enough spotlights in the state of Maine to shine a light on every one of those people on the front lines. Each of them in every corner of the state is doing heroic work.”

About Jacob Posik

Jacob Posik, of Turner, is the director of communications at Maine Policy Institute and the editor of The Maine Wire. He formerly served as a policy analyst at Maine Policy. Posik can be reached at jposik@mainepolicy.org.

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