Maine Health Officials Update Number Of Presumptive Positive Cases For COVID-19 To 2

Mar 13, 2020

Updated 4:33 p.m. 


The Maine Center for Disease Control says that tests on two Mainers are “presumptive positive” for the coronavirus, and a third is being reviewed. Meanwhile public health officials are recommending steps to minimize the spread of the virus.

The presumptive positive case was described as a Portland man in his 50s who was screened at an outpatient clinic and is self-isolated at home. Portland City Manager Jon Jennings says the man was an employee of India Street clinic, and the center is being closed for two weeks out of caution. Jennings says the city has been in touch with both patients and staff who may have been in touch with new COVID-19 case.

The state's first case of COVID-19, confirmed in a female Navy reservist from Androscoggin County in her 50s, was reported Thursday.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah is asking all Mainers that have symptoms of the coronavirus, which include fever, breathing difficulty and other flu-like symptoms, to contact their doctor. He says if a test for coronavirus is warranted, patients will then be referred to a location that can take the sample in an environment designed to minimize spread of the disease.

“If an individual is returning from a level two or level three country -- which is to say Italy, South Korea, Iran, China -- that individual is asked to remain in self quarantine for 14 days.”

Shah says that, as of Friday afternoon, the state lab has the capacity to test about 1,000 samples using materials provided by the federal government. Nordx Labs, Which Is Part Of MaineHealth, is also testing for the new virus.

“The source of the test that hospital systems like MaineHealth obtain their health test kits is different from the U.S.-CDC, which, again, means that by Nordx going on line with their test kit they are not taking anything away.”

Shah urges frequent and thorough hand washing and maintaining a distance from others in public places in an effort to minimize the spread of the virus.