CDC Reports 2 Additional Deaths And 71 More Cases Of COVID-19 In Maine
The daily case count of COVID-19 in Maine has increased by 71 since yesterday Thursday, and two more people have died.
The state Center for Disease Control is recording a total of 1948 cases and 75 deaths.
At Friday's press briefing, Shah said that the two new deaths were both women in their 80s, one from Aroostook and one from Kennebec County.
He also said there were 441 positive cases of COVID-19 cases in healthcare workers.
Shah also said the CDC has expanded its policy on universal testing for nursing homes and other congregate care settings. He said the change was made after the state's recent partnership with IDEXX more than tripled its testing capacity.
"As a result of that expanded testing capacity, we have now started moving toward offering or recommending universal testing in congregate living settings after just a single confirmed case."
Previously, the CDC only did universal testing after an outbreak of three or more cases.
"Because of that expanded laboratory capacity that we now have, Maine CDC is now moving to offer and recommend universal testing for facilities at not three cases, but one case," Shah said.
As a result of the new policy, the agency has confirmed an outbreak of 57 cases among residents and staff at Cape Memory Care in Cape Elizabeth. Forty-five of the positive cases are in residents and 12 in staff.
Gov. Janet Mills also spoke at Friday's briefing, where she directed that flags be lowered for Memorial Day. She also noted that ten Mainers who she called war heroes died from COVID-19 since the pandemic started.
When asked why the state could not reopen while keeping vulnerable populations safe, Mills reemphasized that Maine has an older population. Shah said that there is evidence that the "background rate" of COVID-19 infection and outbreaks at congregate care settings are correlated.
Digital news producer Caitlin Troutman contributed to this report.
Update 3:50 p.m. May 22, 2020
Correction 12:45 p.m. - Due to an error by the CDC, a previous version of this post stated that the total number of deaths in the state is 76. It is 75.