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Knox County residents with virus remains at one

Cases of Mainers with COVID-19 increase to 155

By Stephen Betts | Mar 26, 2020

Augusta — The number of Maine residents with COVID-19 increased to 155, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday, March 26.

The number of Knox County residents confirmed with the virus remains at one person, according to the CDC as of Thursday.

The number does not reflect the number of cases in the county, but the number of permanent Maine residents in Knox County who have the virus. The CDC lists patients by the permanent state of residence.

There also remains five Lincoln County residents. There are now two Waldo County resident with the virus. The first confirmed Waldo County patient is a nurse from Waldo County General Hospital who is self quarantined at home.

Sixteen of the 155 cases statewide are health care workers.

The 155 cases of Mainers with COVID-19 as of Thursday is up from 142 on Wednesday, 118 on Tuesday, 107 cases on Monday, 89 on Sunday, 70 on Saturday and 56 on Friday.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, acknowledged March 25 there was a backlog of 1,300 tests that have been taken yet not processed.

Of the testing done, 3,394 people have tested negative for COVID-19 as of March 26. Sixteen people have now recovered from the new virus.

Twenty-two people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, March 26.

There are 90 Cumberland County residents with the virus, 27 York County residents, and eight Oxford County residents.

The state statistics also show that people in their 60s account for the largest age group with the virus. There are 35 people in their 60s with the virus, 29 in their 50s, 25 in their 40s, 21 in their 70s, 15 in their 20s, 13 in their 80s, 13 in their 30s, and four younger than 20.

Dr. Shah has repeatedly urged people to live their lives as though COVID-19 was in their community by adhering to physical distancing, washing hands, staying home from work if ill, and coughing into your sleeve.

The CDC director said while there has been recommendation from the U.S. CDC, his recommendation would be for anyone who has come to Maine from another part of the country where there are high numbers of COVID-19 and are not feeling well, to stay indoors.

He said March 25 that the office would try to compile statistics on whether the patients comes from out-of-state.

Knox County has a greater percentage of seasonal residences than the state average. According to the 2010 Census, 16% of housing units in Maine were seasonally occupied. In Knox County, the percentage is slightly more than 20%.

On North Haven, for example, 65% of residences are seasonal, according to the 2010 Census. The North Haven Select Board voted March 15 to prohibit non-residents from coming to the island but later rescinded the order because it violated state law. St. George has the most seasonal homes at 762 which is about 34% of all residences in the town.

Dr. Shah said compassion was needed during this time. He also urged people who can donate to donate blood. Donation sites and times are listed on the American Red Cross website.

Dr. Shah said March 25 COVID-19 raises more concerns than the seasonal flu. He said that with COVID-19 the average person can spread it on average of two to three additional people rather than one to 1.5 for people with the seasonal flu.

But COVID-19 also has five to 20 times a greater mortality rate than the seasonal flu, the CDC director said Wednesday. He said that the COVID-19 outbreak is occurring as the influenza cases are near peak, adding stress to the health care system.

Dr. Shah pointed out that statistics internationally show that 80 percent of people with COVID-19 show slight symptoms such as having a cold. But the remaining patients have more serious symptoms and some will require intense medical care.

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