Two hundred and forty-three (243) new cases of the COVID-19 were reported today by Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the Maine CDC – a new record for the number of increases in a day – bringing the total to 8,639. Dr. Shah reported three new deaths, all among seniors, and none of them from Cumberland County at today’s daily briefing. The total number of deaths in Maine is 162.
Sixty six individuals are in the hospital with eighteen (18) in Intensive Care Units in Maine.
The positivity rate is now at 2.5%. Yesterday it was at 2.4%. Dr. Shah said that on the plus side of this pandemic is that the rate of positivity testing is slower than it was in the recent past. Sixty-six (66) have been hospitalized, four more than yesterday. Eighteen (18) are in Intensive Care Units (ICU) statewide.
Dr. Shah emphasizes that this deadly virus is in every zip code in the state and not limited to one part of the state. As residents have moved indoors because of the cooler temperatures, the virus is now being spread in smaller indoor gatherings.
Because Governor Janet T. Mills is concerned about spread during the upcoming holidays, Massachusetts visitors to Maine are no longer exempt from quarantine or negative test requirements.
“People coming here from Massachusetts must either quarantine for 14 days or receive a negative COVID-19 test with a sample taken no longer than 72 hours from arrival in Maine. This protocol applies to Maine residents returning from Massachusetts or another of the non-exempt states.
The decision comes after the Administration reviewed recent public health data in Maine and other states. In reviewing metrics, which include but are not limited to positivity rate and 14-day case data, Massachusetts demonstrated an alarming increase in prevalence of the virus with a positivity rate of 2.5% and 3,384 cases per million over the last 14 days. By comparison Maine, which is also seeing an increase in its positivity and case rates, recorded a positivity rate of 1.8% and 1,350 new cases per million over the last 14 days.
The states of New Hampshire and Vermont remain exempt from the 14-day quarantine or negative test requirement for now, and Governor Mills strongly recommends that visitors from these two states and Maine people returning from them especially during the upcoming holiday season, obtain a test in order to “Know Before You Go,” according to a press release issued by the Governor’s office today.
The Mills Administration also recently announced it will distribute 400,000 rapid antigen tests for symptomatic people, including 300,000 provided to up to 65 Walgreens pharmacy locations from Kittery to Madawaska. Testing is now available to people who have symptoms of COVID-19 at no charge at a drive-through service at the Walgreens pharmacy, 616 Forest Avenue, Portland. 761-9454. Appointments are required, 24 hours notice required and only those over three years of ago will be tested. No medical referral is required. Appointments are to be made on-line. This Walgreens is the only one in Portland with a drive-through facility in the back of the building and is one of the reasons it has contracted with the State to offer this service.
The next regularly scheduled COVID-19 briefing is for Monday at 2:00 pm, November 16 and may be seen on Maine Public Television. Briefings by the MaineCDC are currently held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:00 pm. However, this schedule is subject to last minute changes by the Maine CDC.