One hundred and ninety four (194) new cases of the deadly COVID-19 in Maine were reported by Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the MaineCDC at his briefing this afternoon. There have been three deaths as well; Two men and one woman and none of them are from Cumberland County.
Twenty percent of the new cases are from Androsoggin County, 17% from Cumberland County and 17% from York County. Dr. Shah said that the positivity rate for testing is now up to 2.4%. The national average is at 6.%.
J’s Oyster House on the Portland waterfront is now under investigation for an outbreak of COVID-19 among five staff members according to Dr. Shah.
A new drug just authorized by the FDA will be available in the state of Maine near the future. It is produced by Eli Lilly. Ninety (90) doses will be available every week in Maine for the next several months. It’s an infusion that takes about an hour to conduct. It targets people over 65 years old and/or have underlying predispositions such as lung issues or are obese. It is intended to keep patients from being admitted to hospitals for care. “It is not a silver bullet or a panacea,” said Dr. Shah. It is available in limited quantities because production is just ramping up.
It was also announced that a new drive-through, free, rapid-result antigen testing partnership has been established between DHHS and Walgreens pharmacies at ten sites in Maine. The tests are Abbott’s BiraxNOW and do not need a doctor’s referral. It is available only by appointment, appointments must be made 24 hours in advance and for those only over three years of age. The new testing program starts tomorrow Friday, November 13, 2020. The new testing sites are found in Scarborough, Yarmouth, Gray and Sanford as well as in other parts of the state. It is expected that more than 60 similar sites will be operational in Maine by November 23rd.
Currently, the only Walgreen’s pharmacy in Portland providing this service is on Forest Avenue. It is part of this testing program because it has a drive-through space, the only one in Portland.
“Today’s community transmission could be tomorrow’s outbreak,” said Dr. Shah at the conclusion of the briefing. “Do everything you can to stop the spread. Be kind to each other.” Dr. Shah emphasized that the spiking of the virus is happening across the state and affects no particular zip code. “People in every walk of life are affected.”
Another briefing is expected for tomorrow, Friday, November 13th at 2:00 pm.