Health and health care news

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Two Maine hospitals are listed on a federal government website that tracks the most serious quality deficiencies cited in the past six months. As the Bangor Daily News first reported this week, Maine Medical Center and York Hospital were both identified for patient safety issues.

Cases of Hepatitis A rose sharply last year in Maine, according to the state Center for Disease Control.

PORTLAND, Maine - The number of flu cases in Maine shot up by nearly a quarter over the course of a week. There were almost 1,000 new cases reported for the week that ended Feb. 8.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Update: Feb. 13, 2020: In a press release, the DHHS announced that the individual in Maine tested for the 2019 novel coronavirus tested negative. Maine has no confirmed cases and the risk to the general public remains low.

The Maine Center for Disease Control is testing the first individual in Maine for the coronavirus.

Members of a Maine college community who recently visited China are being monitored in isolation for the new virus.

The Kennebec Journal reports Colby College is keeping certain community members in isolation for as long as 14 days "out of abundance of caution," even though none of them nor anyone in the state has been confirmed to have the virus. The school says it is isolating the individuals based on a public health guidance that has been issued for those returning from mainland China. The vast majority of the confirmed cases are in mainland China.

A state commission is calling for significant pay increases and more training for long-term care workers.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there was a dramatic spike in drug overdose cases in Cumberland County over the course of Friday night. They are attributing this spike to tainted illicit drugs.

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The announcement this week that a Maine home care agency is closing due to financial challenges means that nearly 600 seniors will have to find services elsewhere. But advocates say Maine lacks the capacity to absorb these clients, and that the situation underscores a crisis that has been building for years.

Caitlin Troutman / Maine Public

Recent reports show that New Englanders consume more alcohol than people in other parts of the nation, and that alcohol-related deaths have increased most sharply among ages 25-34.

Linda Coan O'Kresik / Bangor Daily News

As the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus an international health emergency Thursday, private high schools in Maine with Chinese students were asking them not to travel home during an upcoming break and calling off administrators’ upcoming recruiting trips.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that consumers might have been exposed to a form of hepatitis at a market.

The director of the Maine Center for Disease Control says his department is preparing to respond to any cases of the coronavirus that has now sickened more than 2,700 people in China, killed more than 80 and spread to a dozen countries.

Adam Lister / PBS Newshour

Some environmental health advocates say the final recommendations released this week from a state task force examining a family of chemicals known as PFAS are too weak.

Following a recent spike in the number of overdose deaths in Maine's largest city, Portland Police are reaching out to remind the public that there are resources available to help those at risk.

Shalom House

A program in Portland that helped 170 people with serious mental illness live in the community has been shut down.