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'We Are In It Now' — CDC Urges Precautions As Maine Adds 57 COVID-19 Cases

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
A shopper wears a mask to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus while checking out sweatshirts on display in the Old Port, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Portland, Maine.

Maine is seeing higher levels of transmission of COVID-19.

The director of the state CDC, Dr. Nirav Shah said for three days in a row, new case numbers have been above 50, with 57 cases reported Tuesday. The positivity rate has also increased to 0.66 percent.

“The spike that we have foreshadowed is happening. And this is deeply concerning. The bottom line is that we are in it now,” he said at a Tuesday news briefing.

Shah said that almost every county is seeing new cases every day, including those with previously low numbers. For example, Washington County has 48 cumulative cases total, but most are recent.

“Thirty-two of those 48 cases have occurred just this month alone,” he said.

Shah said more cases are happening through community transmission, which is harder to tamp out than localized outbreaks. He said Maine is at a critical juncture, and people need to wear masks and stay six feet apart.

The Maine CDC has opened new outbreak investigations at a church and a nursing home. Shah said there are four cases at the Second Baptist Church in Calais, and at Woodlands Memory Care in Rockland, there are three cases.

“We strongly expect that there will be additional cases in the coming days,” Shah said.

He said it doesn’t appear at this point that the outbreak at the Rockland nursing facility is connected to the larger outbreak in Waldo County that started at the Brooks Pentecostal Church. There are currently 60 cases associated with that outbreak: 34 are among those who attended a fellowship event or services.

Separately, the Maine Department of Corrections says a case of COVID-19 in an employee announced last week at the Correctional Center in Windham has now grown to three.

All of the cases are among staff, and the state CDC is investigating the outbreak.

Two employees at the Maine State Prison in Warren have also tested positive for the virus.

There are now 766 active cases of COVID-19 in the state. The number of deaths has remained unchanged for more than a week, at 146.