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Maine Reports Another 24 Cases Of COVID-19 And 3 New Outbreaks, But No New Deaths

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah at a media briefing Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Augusta.

Maine is tracking three new outbreaks of COVID-19 in Maine, as state health officials report another 24 cases of the disease since Sunday, for a total of 2,349 so far. The death toll remains unchanged at 89.

Meanwhile, at a press briefing Monday, Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine CDC is reminding everyone to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet apart and wear a face covering as the weather warms up and people start going outside and interacting more.

“If you are going to be outside in any form and you’re not able to maintain physical distancing, please wear a face covering,” he said. “If you can maintain physical distancing, I would still ask that you wear a face covering.”

Shah said there is increasing evidence that transmission of the coronavirus by people who have no symptoms is playing a bigger role in the ongoing outbreak.

“When I say this — I really, truly do mean it — I want everyone to take the most care they can to stay healthy,” he said.

The Maine CDC is reporting new outbreaks of COVID-19 in Portland, including at the city’s family homeless shelter, where there have been 15 cases in recent days; five cases at the Birchwoods at Canco, an assisted living facility; five at a residence for developmentally disabled adults and four at the Barron Center, which the city of Portland also runs.

Shah said 85 people have now tested positive at Cape Memory Care, a residential care facility in Cape Elizabeth.

“That’s comprised of 61 residents and 23 staff members. Sadly, four individuals associated with that facility have also passed away,” he said.

Shah said there is a tight link between measures to reduce community transmission and the effort to curb the spread of the disease in nursing homes.

“By wearing a face covering, by maintaining social distancing, you’re not just protecting people around you and your family, you might be reducing the likelihood that you could expose a worker at a long-term care facility,” he said, and that may reduce the likelihood of an outbreak at that facility.

Shah said universal testing is being deployed at the Proctor and Gamble Tambrands facility in Auburn, where seven cases were identified. Shah said test results there are likely this week.

Another outbreak of five cases at the Milestone Shelter in Portland remains unchanged since last week, Shah said.

Five hundred of Maine's cases are among health care workers, Shah said. A total of 1,586 people have recovered from the disease, 34 more since Sunday, he said, and 284 Maine people have been hospitalized over the course of the pandemic. Fifty-two remain hospitalized, 17 of them in intensive care. Of those, 10 are on ventilators.

Shah said the feds have told Maine that the state will receive another four cases of the anti-viral drug remdesivir this week.

Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET, May 31, 2020.

Maine Public digital producer Barbara Cariddi contributed to this report.