Dr. Nirav Shah, of MaineCDC, announced today that two more individuals have succumbed to COVID-19, bringing the total to seven deceased in Maine. The two newest fatalities were women in their 80/s from Cumberland County. It was not disclosed whether or not they had underlining health issues which would make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others.
Dr. Shah reported that two cases of COVIID-19 have been reported from clients at the Oxford Street Shelter. Concern over the issue has prompted city manager Jon Jennings to call for an emergency remote workshop this afternoon scheduled for 5:00 pm.
Dr. Shah reported that 344 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, an increase of 41 since yesterday. Sixty-three people have been hospitalized. In Maine, 8,400 people have tested negatively for coronavirus.
Dr. Shah reported that a rapid testing kit will be rolled out very soon in Maine. It was developed by scientists at Abbott Laboratories. Soon test kits will be manufactured in Scarborough, one of this company’s facilities. Thereafter Maine will be able to take possession of 100 rapid test kits from Abbott. Within each kit are 24 tests. The cost is about $40. per kit and Abbott is expected to start mass producing them this week. The advantage of these rapid tests is that parties will be able to learn the results very quickly; within 15 minutes of taking the test. That will enable treatment to take place sooner for patients. Another major advantage will be that Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) will not have to be used for such long stretches as they currently are. The conservation of their use is important to health care workers. Dr. Shah issued a thank you to Abbott for their “game changing” scientific work.
The Doctor went on to say that Maine has 272 ICU beds and that 124 are available. There are currently 384 ventilators with 271 available in Maine. He added that there are disadvantages to testing everyone as some have called for: what do you do with the negative tests, he asked.
“Physical distancing remains our best vaccine,” said Dr. Shah.