Daily Catch

One new coronavirus death reported in Maine as number of confirmed cases grows to 586

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The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting 586 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine and one additional death caused by the virus, according to the center’s director, Dr. Nirav Shah, who delivered comments to the media Friday afternoon alongside Governor Janet Mills.

The 586 confirmed cases represent an increase of 26 cases overnight. The individual who passed away was a woman in her 80s from Sagadahoc County, bringing the state’s COVID-19 death total to 17.

To date, 111 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness. The Maine CDC reported for the first time Friday the number of active hospitalizations statewide, which includes 20 people receiving treatment in intensive care units and 37 individuals who are hospitalized outside of intensive care settings for a total of 57 active hospitalizations. The state is also aware of 246 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 44 from yesterday’s reported totals.

The Maine CDC confirmed Friday it is now aware of community transmission of the virus in Penobscot County. Community transmission had already been identified in Cumberland and York counties. Fifteen of Mine’s 16 counties have at least one confirmed case of the virus.

Dr. Shah provided an update Friday on the situation at the Tall Pines facility in Belfast where a substantial outbreak of the virus has occureed. There are 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Tall Pines and Maine CDC is preparing to pull a large order of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff at the facility, as well as test all staff and individuals who live and work there.

Shah also reported an active outbreak of the virus at an unnamed rehabilitation facility in Augusta where the Maine CDC is aware of four residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. The facility is set to receive an emergency order of PPE to help employees at the facility care for patients.

Dr. Shah reported Thursday that Maine was set to receive 100 rapid response tests manufactured by Abbott Laboratories from the federal government but received only five of these test kits. On Friday, Dr. Shah announced that Martin’s Point Health Care has donated to the Maine CDC an additional five rapid response tests it had received from the federal government, doubling the state’s rapid diagnostic testing capabilities.

He also announced that ND Paper donated 3,000 Tyvek suits and 40,000 surgical masks to the Maine CDC, and that the donation will be used to protect health care workers across the state and allow them to remain on the front lines to provide care for all Maine people.

Governor Mills joined Dr. Shah at Friday’s briefing to announce that she is directing the Maine Emergency management Agency to work with electric utility companies to secure mutual assistance from other states and New Brunswick to restore power for the nearly quarter of a million of Mainers who lost power as a result of the most recent snowstorm.

She’s also ordering the prioritization of power restoration to hospitals, health care facilities and food distribution centers, and asked Mainers to exercise patience as it will take crews several days to restore power across the state.

Governor Mills also provided an update on how the outbreak in Maine compares to what is being experienced in other states. According to Mills, Maine is 34th lowest in the nation and the lowest in New England in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, as well as deaths, per capita. Maine is 7th highest in the number of people who have recovered per capita and 14th highest in the total number of tests conducted.

In addition, Governor Mills announced that 1,681 Maine health care providers are set to receive $146 million in the next few days due to the passage of the CARES act at the federal level, and thanked Maine’s congressional delegation for helping to obtain these funds for Maine health care workers.

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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