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'The Pot Is Starting To Boil' — Maine CDC Opens Over A Dozen Outbreak Investigations

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
A woman wears a face shield to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, in Westbrook, Maine.

The number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the positivity rate all continue to climb in Maine.

The Maine CDC is reporting 173 cases of COVID-19 in Maine on Monday.

The number of deaths in the state remained unchanged for the first time in a week. One-hundred sixty-five Mainers have died from the disease.

But CDC Director Nirav Shah says he’s encouraged by measures that are protecting Maine schools. He says the use of safety precautions such as face coverings, distancing and changes to extracurricular activities are working.

“What we have detected thus far into the school year is very little transmission of COVID-19 within the walls of the school,” he says.

In the past 30 days, 212 cases have been associated with schools. But Shah says they aren’t the source of spread. Most cases, he says, are due to community transmission.

Shah says his agency has opened 14 outbreak investigations of COVID-19 in the past 72 hours. The outbreaks span the state and are centered around workplaces, nursing homes, health care facilities, social clubs and schools.

“The pot is starting to boil, and the bubbles are coming up everywhere,” he says.

Shah says spotty use of face masks is also contributing to the spread.

Since the onset of the pandemic in March, 9,117 people have been diagnosed with the disease. Of those, 6,830 have recovered, leaving 2,122 active cases.