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Maine CDC Revises Standard For Investigating COVID-19 Cases

Nick Woodward
Maine Public file
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at a news conference in Augusta in May.

The Maine Center for Disease Control will now investigate probable cases of COVID-19 only after a person receives a positive test result. The change is aimed at ensuring that state resources are directed at the new coronavirus as the state enters cold and flu season.

Previously, symptomatic close contacts of individuals with COVID-19 were considered probable cases. But in a news release, CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah says that the symptoms for COVID-19 are similar to those of the cold and flu. Waiting for a positive test result, he says, will ensure that state resources can be focused on COVID-19.

The CDC also says that the recent surge in cases means it may no longer be able to contact those who receive a positive test result within 24 hours. The agency is advising people to isolate while they wait for a call from the CDC, and to urge their close contacts to get tested.

The agency says it’s boosting its workforce by redeploying 25 staff to work on case investigations and contact tracing. About 20 members of the Maine National Guard are also being trained, and additional staff are expected to be added each week.