“A death reported today, a man in 70s, was sadly linked to Brooks Pentecostal outbreak,” said Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah, Nov. 4, during his bi-weekly pandemic briefing held remotely. “Not directly, but indirectly.”
Shah reported on the 149th and 150th recent deaths of Maine residents since the pandemic began last March, saying those were a woman in her 80s, living in Franklin County, and a man in his 70s, living in Waldo County.
He said that since Nov. 3, Maine had recorded 151 new cases, taking the total recorded cases over the last seven months to 6,241.
Over the past 30 days, 43 patients have been hospitalized.
Right now, there are 36 in the hospital receiving treatment, 12 in the intensive care unit, and two on ventilators.
By contrast, he said, two weeks ago, seven people were in the hospital, “none of whom was on a ventilator and none of whom in the ICU.”
To date, 1,209 health care workers have been sickened by the virus.
Of the 151 new cases, 41 percent are in Cumberland County, and 15 percent in Kennebec County.
The Woodlands Memory Care Center in Rockland remains status quo, with 21 cases associated with that outbreak.
The Maine CDC is opening an epidemiological investigation in the Calais Regional Hospital, where six cases have been associated with the hospital.
Additionally, the CDC is investigating:
three cases at Advanced Health Physical Therapy in Augusta;
the Crossfit Undaunted gym, with three patrons infected, in Augusta; and
the Hope Baptist Church, in Augusta, where five cases have been confirmed.
All three investigations, just opened today, all in Kennebec County,” said Shah.
Positivity rate statewide
The COVID-19 positivity rate, on a seven day rolling average, is now at 1.30 percent, said Shah.
“Two weeks ago, the rate was 0.5 percent,” he said.
The national average is 6 percent.
Shah also reported that one of the team members at the CDC building in Augusta has tested positive.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention building is at 286 Water Street and is now closed to the public.
The employee is self-isolating. DHHS was informed of the positive test result on Tuesday afternoon and notified employees of 286 Water St. As is protocol for any case of COVID-19, Maine CDC is conducting an epidemiological investigation and notifying close contacts of the affected individual.
DHHS closed the Water Street building to the public on Wednesday and closed four floors to employees as the investigation continues. Affected employees are working remotely. The building has been cleaned and sanitized per guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will reopen as soon as possible.
Due to actions taken earlier this year by DHHS to limit the number of people in Department buildings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, most Maine CDC staff have been working remotely. The partial closure of the building at 286 Water St. does not affect testing or distribution of personal protective equipment, which takes place in other Maine CDC facilities. Epidemiological investigation of COVID-19 cases, including contact tracing, is ongoing.
Shah closed his Wednesday briefing by saying that the number of cases in Maine has climbed by 1,000 over the course of two weeks. And, the positivity rate has more than doubled.
Five times as many people are hospitalized, he said, and the CDC is now seeing new cases in all 16 of Maine’s counties.
“COVID 19 has now affected every aspect and geography across Maine,” said Shah — gyms, restaurants, houses of worships, hospitals and long term care facilities.”
If one was exposed, stay inside and stay away from people, he said. A negative test for most people does not absolve them from the need to be in quarantine.
Now is the time to reconsider who you are interacting with, he said.
Even in small gatherings, where people are eating, breathing, singing, talking, can also be places of risk.