WATCH: 2 More Deaths As Maine COVID-19 Cases Rise To 344
Updated April 1, 2020 at 13:19 a.m. ET.
Two more people infected with the new coronavirus have died, bringing the total number of deaths from the illness in Maine to 7, according to Maine Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Nirav Shah.At an Augusta briefing Wednesday, Shah said both of the people who died were women in their 80s from Cumberland County who were hospitalized.
So far, five of those who have died were from Cumberland County, one was a resident of Kennebec County and one lived in York County. So far, 63 people with the disease have been hospitalized and 80 have recovered.
The increase in deaths occurs as Maine's tally of known cases of the virus has risen to 344, 41 more than Tuesday, Shah said, including the first known case in Hancock County.
In addition, Shah said another guest at the Oxford Street Shelter in Portland tested positive for the disease, bringing the tally of cases found there to two. In response, the city of Portland announced that it's created a separate quarantine space for homeless people at the city's Expo building.
One-hundred-ninety-two of the cases have turned up in Cumberland County, and 65 in York County, two places where community transmission is occurring, officials have said. Shah said epidemiologists have not yet determined whether community transmission is occurring elsewhere in Maine.
Shah urged residents to take Gov. Janet Mills’ stay at home order seriously.
"Right now, physical distancing is the best vaccine that we have for COVID-19."
Shah said 8,400 people have tested negative for the illness. He said Maine has the capacity to conduct 4,000 more tests, and will soon have 2,400 rapid result tests being released by Abbott Laboratories in Scarborough.
"This has a number of benefits," he said. "The first is that patients can quickly learn whether they are positive or negative."
Shah said it will also help health care providers make treatment decisions, as well as conserve personal protective equipment if a patient tests negative. "The benefits of this test will be manifold across the system."
On Tuesday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills imposed new restrictions on people to slow the spread of the virus.
Beginning Thursday, Mainers should only leave their homes for essential needs and must maintain a six foot distance from others.
This story will be updated.