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2 Deaths, 224 COVID-19 Cases Added In Maine On Friday

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
Holiday shoppers are bundled for the cold weather, just a week after temperatures climbed above 70 degrees F., Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Maine’s positivity rate for COVID-19 is now just under 3 percent, nearly six times higher than it was just a month ago. And hospitalizations have reached a record high, with 90 people receiving inpatient care.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah says 49 Mainers are in intensive care units.

“That’s 14 more people in the ICU just since yesterday,” he says.

Shah says there is still headroom in hospitals to absorb more patients, though he acknowledged the system is fragile and depends, in part, on having enough staff who remain healthy and can care for patients.

In the past two days, the Maine CDC has opened 20 new COVID-19 outbreak investigations. The settings range congregate care facilities and construction sites to schools and workplaces, including Bath Iron Works, where there are 10 cases.

Shah says the outbreaks come as the state is experiencing forceful community transmission.

“We are at a critical moment with respect to COVID-19. We all have within our own ambit the opportunity to help bend the curve. But in order to do that, I need everyone working on the same page and moving in the same way,” he says.

Shah says if people don’t change behaviors and wear masks, keep distance and avoid gatherings, the exponential spread of the virus will continue.

The state CDC reported two more deaths related to COVID-19, as well as 224 new cases, on Friday.

A total of 173 Mainers have died, and there are 2,195 active cases across the state.

Maine’s surge in numbers has prompted Gov. Janet Mills to implement new measures to discourage gatherings and limit transmission. Starting Friday, businesses such as restaurants, casinos, performance venues and social clubs must close by 9 p.m. The restriction is in place through Dec. 6.