© 2021 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

1 Death, 194 COVID-19 Cases On Thursday

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
Members of Scouts BSA, Troop 874 wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus while taking part in a Veterans Day ceremony, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, in Naples, Maine.

Another person with COVID-19 has died in Maine, for a total of 159 deaths, as the number of active cases across the state continue to climb and hospitalizations surge to 62.

The Maine CDC added 194 cases of the disease on Thursday, and there are currently 1,962 active cases in the state.

CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah says the virus is spreading with ferocity across the state, fueled by small household get-togethers.

“We are literally now at an inflection point where the number of people who are dying every day and every week in Maine can be traced to the number of cases there are. And those cases are coming from small family gatherings,” he says.

Shah says controlling the spread comes down to the choices people make every day — and every weekend.

Just within the past 24 hours, the Maine CDC has opened five outbreak investigations in central and western Maine. There are three cases each in the Lewiston-based Maine Noriques hockey team, the Androscoggin County Jail and Community Concepts child care. Shah says there are also four cases at the Guy Rowe school in Norway and five cases at Oxford Hills High School.

“Yet another reminder that the virus is everywhere among us. In places where it was previously spreading at low levels, we have now found it to be spreading at very high levels,” he says.

Androscoggin County accounted for 20 percent of all new cases Thursday, and Oxford County accounted for nearly 7 percent. But Shah says Maine is consistently recording new cases across every county.

Starting Friday, 10 Walgreens pharmacies in Maine will offer free rapid antigen testing for people with symptoms of COVID-19. State officials say drive-thru testing will be available at more than 60 Walgreens pharmacies by Nov. 23.

And Maine will soon be receiving a federal allocation of monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 treatment. Shah says the primary function of the drug is to prevent people from needing hospitalization.

“The patients in whom the drug seemed to have the most benefit were those who were over the age of 65, or those with preexisting health conditions,” he says.

Shah says the state will receive 90 doses per week of monoclonal antibodies and each patient receives one dose.

The expanded testing and therapies come as the state’s positivity rate has climbed above 2 percent.