To our readers,

The COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century type story, ... Click here to continue

Four Knox County residents now confirmed with virus

COVID-19 cases jump again, reaching 253

Fatalies rise to three statewide
By Stephen Betts | Mar 29, 2020
Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah

Four Knox County residents are now confirmed with COVID-19, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Sunday in its daily update.

Statewide, the number of cases of Mainers who have contracted the virus since the start of the outbreak jumped from 211 on Saturday to 253 March 29. The state reported Sunday afternoon that two additional people died from COVID-19.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention the two latest people to die from COVID-19 were a woman in her 80s from Cumberland County and a man in his 60s from Cumberland County. Both individuals were hospitalized at the time of their deaths. Due to privacy laws, Maine CDC is limited in releasing further details.

The first death of an individual in Maine who tested positive for COVID-19 was reported Friday. That individual was a man in his 80s from Cumberland County.

On Saturday, Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport announced in a news release that two of its doctors had been diagnosed with the new virus. Those doctors are self-isolating at their homes and their illnesses are mild.

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

The 253 cases is up from 211 on Saturday, 168 on Friday,155 cases on Thursday , 142 on Wednesday, 118 on Tuesday, 107 cases on Monday, 89 on Sunday, 70 on Saturday and 56 on Friday. The first case in Maine was not confirmed until March 12.

Cumberland County accounts for most of the cases with 142 residents of that county testing positive. There are 47 York County residents confirmed with COVID-19 and 11 in Penbscot County.

The state statistics also show that people in their 60s account for the largest age group with the virus. There are 54 people in their 60s with the virus, 45 in their 50s, 44 in their 40s, 32 in their 70s, 27 in their 20s, 24 in their 80s, 23 in their 30s, and four younger than 20.

The number of people in Maine with the virus is likely much greater but the CDC has repeatedly acknowledged that there is a backlog of testing. The number of negative tests remains at 3,394.

The number of Mainers who have been diagnosed and recovered has increased to 41. One person -- a Cumberland County man in his 80s -- as died from COVID-19 in Maine.

Most cases of COVID-19 infection bring flu-like symptoms that are mild to moderate and can be treated at home, though in a percentage of cases, mostly involving older people or those with underlying health conditions, it can be serious. Patients concerned they may have contracted COVID-19 are urged to call ahead before presenting at a doctor’s office, clinic or an emergency department.

Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine's CDC director, 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 no 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 and self quarantine.

He said March 25 that the office would try to compile statistics on whether the patients comes from out-of-state. That has not yet been done.

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 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% 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.

If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at knox.villagesoup.com/join.
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at knox.villagesoup.com/donate.
Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.