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WATCH: Maine CDC Confirms State's First Death Attributed To COVID-19, As Cases Rise To 168

Nick Woodward
Maine Public

Updated March 27, 2020 at 14:30 p.m. ET.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills has confirmed the state's first COVID-19 death. At an Augusta news briefing Friday, the governor said the individual was a man in his 80s from Cumberland County. "Today we know grief," Mills said. "I can't say that we won't suffer more losses before this is over, but I know we will get through this as Mainers." 

Maine CDC officials say they can only offer limited details on the man's death because of privacy issues.

Mills said recommendations her administration has issued will help save lives. "Please, please, stay away from other people. Stay home. Leave home only when absolutely necessary. Things will get worse before they get better - and they will get better," she said.

Mills was joined at the news conference by Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine's CDC director. Shah said the state has now recorded 168 cases of the new coronavirus, up by 13 more in a day. Ninety-two of the cases are in Cumberland County and 33 are in York County. Shah said Thursday that community transmission is occurring both counties.

Forty other cases are scattered around 9 other Maine counties, and the origin of 3 cases is unknown.

At least 16 health care workers are among the state’s 168 confirmed cases of covid-19. 

Meanwhile, the retirement community Oceanview at Falmouth also announced Friday that a seventh resident has tested positive for COVID-19, and is recuperating at home.

Shah said 30 of those who have contracted the virus are hospitalized, while 24 have recovered and been released from isolation.  Meanwhile, the retirement community Ocean View at Falmouth also announced Friday that a seventh resident has tested positive for COVID-19, and is recuperating at home.

He said Maine has received a shipment of "life-saving" pieces of equipment, which he said will be distributed around the state. But he said more is needed, and he has joined Gov. Mills in calling on the federal government to provide more.

"Cases will rise," Shah said. He said the additional equipment is crucial so health care workers can safely conduct tests and treat patients. "We've got an umbrella and we're in a hurricane," he said.

The supply of masks, gowns and face shields for health workers has been a problem for other states and the federal government has been releasing some inventory from its Strategic National Stockpile. But Shah says the feds have indicated that Maine might not receive its full allotment of PPE because the supply was being diverted to hard-hit states.