Seventy-six more cases of COVID-19 have been reported today since yesterday said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, at an impromptu briefing held this afternoon in Augusta. At the unscheduled briefing, Dr. Shah said the total number of cases has jumped to 6,387.
The reason for the unscheduled briefing today was due to the upward trend in cases themselves as well as in the positivity test rate that has increased. By comparison, Dr. Shah said that two weeks ago the rate of positivity was .42. Since then, it has jumped up to .75. However, Maine remains among the lowest rate of positivity rate in the nation, if not the lowest rate. “The virus is in every corner and zip code in Maine,” said Dr. Shah.
Dr.Shah cautioned that there “could be exponential growth in Maine. For example, one day there are 70 new cases and the next day 140 new cases and so on. It is happening in other states.” Governor Mills said that there is “exponential growth occurring in South Dakota.” That’s where the positivity rate is up to 40. The average Maine age of those newly infected is 43 years old; the youngest is 8 months old and the oldest is 93 years old.
Governor Mills, the first woman Governor of Maine, said that back in May of this year, cases were mostly in congregate housing situations – nursing homes and homeless shelters. Today is different. The virus is everywhere among us. “Something is happening and it isn’t good. The death rate is higher in the US than most other countries. We do not have the virus under control.” The current increase is because people are moving their lives indoors – into their homes and restaurants. Less time is spent outdoors. People have become more “relaxed” indoors. “This is not about shutting down. It’s about getting back in the bunker. “We have not turned the corner yet,” Governor Mills said in an oblique reference to Trump’s insistence to the contrary.
The Governor urged citizens to continue wearing face coverings, washing hands frequenting, and using social distancing to contain the COVID-19. She urged everyone to use “common sense” in containing the COVID-19.
A reporter queried the Governor about the expected appearance of a Trump family member in Bangor tomorrow and whether there had been any communication between the state and the campaign. “We have reached out to the White House, but have not heard back. We’d be happy to talk with him,” she said referring to Don Jr.’s political campaign tomorrow in northern Maine.
“We can do this. Maine has done incredibly well. Keep your chin up,” the Governor implored the public. “Maine has done well. But we need to do better,” ending her pep talk to a public tired of the coronavirus and its consequences.