Maine CDC gives update on eight COVID-19 outbreaks, two in the Midcoast

Mon, 11/02/2020 - 2:30pm

    As of Nov. 2, the Maine CDC is conducting investigations into eight COVID-19 outbreaks in the state, two of them in Midcoast.

    The state’s CDC opened three new investigations opened as of Nov. 2: one in Warren; another in Pittsfield, with the Deeper Life Assembly Church, where 11 have tested positive; and the third, at the Sandy River Center, a retirement home in Farmington, where seven have tested positive.

    In Warren, the CDC is investigating a new outbreak at the Midcoast Recreation Center (MAC), where five cases are thought to be related to “kids playing basketball,” said Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, at his Monday, Nov. 2 briefing. (Read: Midcoast Athletics Center cites more COVID-19 infections, grapples with outbreak)

    The briefing was held on Monday instead of Tuesday, given that Nov. 3 is Election Day. Joining him were Gov. Janet Mills and Dept. of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew.

    There are now 18 cases associated with the Woodlands Memory Care facility in Rockland, on Camden Street.

    There, 15 residents and three staff members have tested positive. (Read: UPDATE: Maine CDC investigates COVID-19 cases at Rockland memory care facility, continues focus on Waldo County outbreak)

    The CDC is also investigating:

    Pat’s Pizza, in Portland, with 22 cases associated with that restaurant;

    Durgan Pines, in Kittery, where seven residents and two staff members have tested positive;

    A Brooks outbreak, where 60 people have contracted COVID-19 after attending a church there;

    And in Calais, where 27 cases have been associated with the Second Baptist Church, up 15 from last week.

    Shah said Nov. 2 that the volume of testing (590 PCR tests for every 100,000 people) in Maine has largely been the same, and that there has been expansion in cases. A diagnostic PCR is a molecular test, “that detects the virus’s genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    In the last four days, there are cases in all 16 Maine counties, said Shah.

    “This is deeply concerning form disease control perspective,” he said, adding that the virus is now of “dispersed transmission.”

    Likewise, the positivity rate in Maine has doubled over the last week, back up to where the rate was at July 22, at 1.06. During the late summer and fall, the positivity rate fell below 1 percent.

    Shah said 29 patients with COVID-19 are in the hospital now, seven in intensive care, with one on a ventilator. By contrast, one month ago, nine were in the hospital.

    “It is increasing day to day, you can’t ignore because it’s real,” said Gov. Mills. “People are getting sick. We can’t let this take any lives of Maine people. We can’t allow Maine people to get sick. We can’t let it take over our state. We are going back now to prevent further spread.”

    More and more, transmissions are occurring at small gatherings of friends, families, and neighborhoods, Shah said. 

    They stressed keeping a distance from people, avoiding large gatherings, covering one’s face with a mask, and washing hands.