Why Maine CDC says Knox County has zero COVID-19 cases, despite once saying otherwise

Sun, 03/22/2020 - 7:30pm

    AUGUSTA — Less than a week ago, Maine learned that Knox County’s only listed case of COVID-19 had been determined as presumptive positive, and then confirmed. Two days after listing a presumptive positive case in Knox County, however, the Maine CDC delisted that individual, leaving the number of confirmed in cases in Knox County as zero.

    Every day around noon, the Maine CDC releases a trio of tables detailing confirmed COVID-19 cases within the state. When the data is released to the general public, the data is broken down first by county, then by age group and lastly by sex. (Up until Saturday, March 21, the department had been identifying presumptive positive cases, but they have since addressed why they no longer will be using the “presumptive positive” terminology.) 

    In a Monday, March 16 list of cases in the state, the Maine CDC listed Knox County had one presumptive positive case, a male in his 30s. 

    The Maine CDC announced during its Tuesday, March 17 rundown of newly confirmed cases that the Knox County had been confirmed. 

    The very next day, the Maine CDC released its Wednesday, March 18 list of cases with zero cases being reported in Knox County. Not even a presumptive positive case. 

    So, what happened to that one case in Knox County in such a short span? 

    As it turns out, that one confirmed case should not be listed as a Knox County case, based on U.S. CDC directives. 

    “Further epidemiological review of the case listed Tuesday as being a Knox County resident determined that the individual's primary residence was in another state,” said Robert Long, Communications Director for the Maine CDC. “Per U.S. CDC directives, cases are listed by the state of primary residence.”

    The individual continues to receive care within the state, Long said, but is no longer listed within the Maine CDC’s table as a way to “ensure accurate national tabulation of COVID-19 cases.” 

    The Maine CDC has declined to discuss any more details about the case.