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Maine Reports 35 New COVID-19 Cases, No New Deaths

Nick Woodward
Maine Public
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah at a coronavirus press briefing March 27, 2020 in Augusta, Maine.

Another 35 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in Maine overnight, but no new deaths were reported for the second day in a row.That's according to Maine Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Nirav Shah, who said at a media briefing Friday that the number of cases of COVID-19 diagnosed since the pandemic began now totals 2,913, and the death toll remains at 102.

Twenty-three of the new cases are in Cumberland County, six are in York County and four in Androscoggin County.

Shah said most of the outbreaks at congregate care facilities or workplaces have been holding stable. Five workers at Cape Seafoods in Saco were sickened when they carpooled together, Shah said. Universal testing is underway there, Shah said, and no new cases have yet turned up. At Abbott Labs in Scarborough, one more case has turned up, for a total of 24, so far.

Overall, Shah said, at 4.3%, Maine's overall positivity rate for COVID-19 remains among the lowest in the nation.

A total of 2,323 people have recovered from the illness, 23 more than Thursday, leaving 488 active cases in Maine.

A cumulutive total of 328 people have been hospitalized sometime during their illness. Twenty-six people are currently in the hospital, 11 in critical care. Five people are on ventilators. Shah said 743 of Maine's cases so far have been among health care workers.

But Shah said, at 4.3% Maine's overall positivity rate for COVID-19 remains among the lowest in the nation, as does the state's death rate. "That's not an accident," Shah said, attributing the low numbers to residents' diligence in following health guidelines.

"This is not a victory lap," he said, acknowledging the risks of a resurgance of the disease as the state reopens. He urged Mainers to "keep our collective feet on the gas with respect to things like face masks, physical distancing" and other measures.

He said the number of hospitalizations from the disease are falling and the use of ventilators is tailing off, "suggesting, but not proving, a lower severity of illness" in recent weeks. He said Maine is partnering with Jackon Labs to try to determine how or if the virus is changing and whether the virus circulating in Maine is akin to the virus elsewhere.

Shah said Maine health officials are also seeking to determine how the virus is impacting different racial and ethnic groups in Maine, and where the disparities lie. He said some information on that would soon be available on the state CDC's website.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. June 19, 2020.