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Maine CDC Reports Record 551 COVID-19 Cases, 2 Deaths

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
A tester wears personal protective equipment as she speaks to a patient at a mobile testing location for COVID-19, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Auburn, Maine.

The Maine CDC is reporting 551 additional cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

That’s a new record, and a 29 percent increase over the prior one-day high mark of 427, set on Dec. 7.

Two more deaths have also been reported, bringing that number to 267.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah says the record number of new cases is a direct result of family gatherings that occurred over Thanksgiving.

During a CDC briefing, Shah says he’s concerned about that high number going into the upcoming holidays.

“If you go into a season where more people are expected to be gathering in close quarters for long periods of time, if you go into those days, those holidays, with higher rates of disease, the likelihood that any one of those gatherings could be attended by somebody who has COVID, itself goes up,” he says.

Shah says that is how exponential growth happens and in Maine’s case, how it continues. He urged those who can stay home and stay in their bubble to do so, calling it “the most healthful thing you can do this winter.”

Shah did have a bit of good news to share.

“As of about 18 minutes ago, roughly 475 Maine people have already been vaccinated with the new Pfizer vaccine,” he says.

As for how and when everyone else will get their shots depends on many variables — including how much vaccine the state is provided.

“Vaccine will be made available to the general public but it may be many, many months away,” he says.

Shah is urging everyone, even those who have been vaccinated, to continue to wear their masks, wash their hands and practice social distancing. That’s because the vaccine is effective at preventing severe symptoms and disease — what’s still unclear is whether it prevents someone from carrying COVID-19 and spreading it to others.