58 New Cases Of COVID-19 Diagnosed In Maine; Death Toll Unchanged

May 21, 2020

Maine health officials are reporting another 58 new cases of COVID-19 since Wednesday, for a total of 1,877 positive diagnoses since the pandemic began.

Maine Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Shah said the death toll remains at 73. That marks the second day in a row with no new deaths.

Shah said a case of COVID-19 in a Maine Correctional Center inmate has prompted testing of a total of about 750 people associated with the Department of Corrections. He said 163 results have come back so far, all negative. Additional tests are pending.

"Maine DOC is still waiting on approximately 200 additional samples which, again, are being run at the Maine CDC laboratory.  And then on top of that there are an additional 375 or so swabs that Maine DOC will be continuing to take over the next 24 to 48 hours," says Shah.

Shah said the state is also looking into some possible cases associated with the Tambrands facility in Auburn, but has not determined whether there is an outbreak at the plant or whether the cases originated with individuals.

Among other congregate settings, such as nursing homes and work sites, he said no new cases turned up overnight at the Seal Rock facility or Woodford Family Services, both of which have three cases, and no new cases were reported at Bristol Seafood in Portland.

He said another case has occurred at a Cianbro worksite, for a total of 26 positive diagnoses. He said the state has determined that of the 26 infected, 11 are Maine residents, five are from New Hampshire, eight  from Rhode Island, one from North Carolina and one from Wisconsin.

Shah said residents at a housing facility in Portland for at-risk people called 100 State Street, 200 people have been tested and the results are pending. He said there are 21 cases at Clover Health Care, and 42 cases at Springbrook.

Shah said 432 of Maine's cases are among health care workers.

Shah was joined by Maine Department of Health and Human Services Jeanne Lambrew, who said the state has received $52.7 million in federal funds that will be used to expand the state's lab and testing capacity. Lambrew said some of the money will support the building of a new state lab in Augusta. Ground for that project was broken prior to the pandemic, Lambrew said.

The rest of the money will be used to bolster Maine rural hospitals' lab capacity and establish more drive-thru testing facilities. 

Lambrew also says that while some of the numbers look alarming, the test positive rate has gone down — that's the number of positives out of all the tests taken — and Lambrew says there are other reasons to be encouraged especially when Maine is compared to other states.

"We're basically the same as we were last week. Last week we reported on a per capita basis that we were 46th in terms of cases, sixth lowest in the nation; 39th on deaths and 28th out of 33 states reporting hospitalizations. So, we do continue to provide you this information and we'll continue tracking outbreaks, but I think it's important to put these numbers in context.”

Of Maine's 58 new cases, 28 of them are in Cumberland County, and 17 in Andoscoggin County. The rest are scattered across Maine's 14 other counties.

A total of 1,145 of Mainers infected with the disease have recovered, Shah said, and 235 have had to be hospitalized. Forty-one remain in the hospital, 21 of them in intensive care. Of those, 12 are on ventilators.

Maine Public's Barbara Cariddi contributed to this report.

Updated May 21, 2020 at 4:40 p.m. ET.