Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the MaineCDC, stated today that a second case of the COVID-19 variant known as B.l.l.7, has been identified in York County.
Last week he announced that the first case of the variant had been identified in Franklin County. The second case was probably transmitted due to domestic travel by the recipient. Dr. Shah emphasized that there is no connection between the two cases.
Dr. Shah said that while he is optimistic about the downward trend in the number of new Covid-19 cases, the number of hospitalizations and resulting deaths, he remains “cautious” about the future of the pandemic. That’s because this new variant is more contagious than the original one and more deadly as well.
Dr. Shah said that 65% of Maine’s vaccine supply has been administered which does not comport with a recent report in “The New York Times.” The report alleged that Maine stands near the bottom of the states administering its supply. Dr. Shah said there are other reports stating what is really going on.
Commissioner Lambrew said that within the next few months, the State will supply school districts with rapid tests for COVID-19. The BinaxNOW is a nasal swab test that produces results very quickly. The rapid tests will be available for both teachers and students and is expected to permit in-class learning at Maine’s public schools until teachers receive vaccinations. Teachers are currently not on the priority list for vaccinations in Maine as are Maine residents over 70 years old and health care workers.
Dr. Shah said there was no disruption in the vaccine supply from the Feds because of the inclement weather. Most doses arrived on Monday – ahead of the ice storm to avoid any delays in the administration of the vaccine to Maine residents.
Dr. Shah’s briefing occurs every Tuesday and Thursday at 2:00 pm. It can be viewed on Maine Public Television and is subject to last minute scheduling changes.
For more background information on the UK variant, please visit post herein dated February 11, 2021.