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COVID-19 cases jump in Midcoast, statewide, CDC reports Saturday

By Stephen Betts | Oct 17, 2020
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah

The COVID-19 situation worsened significantly both in the three Midcoast counties and statewide, figures released Saturday show.

There were 11 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the three Midcoast counties, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported Saturday. This follows 10 new cases reported on Friday.

Many of the cases are linked to a church in Brooks.

The number of active cases of COVID-19 across the state rose to its highest level since June 2, the CDC reported Saturday.

Statewide, 48 new cases were reported by the CDC on Oct. 17. This brings the total number of cases since the outbreak began to 5,913.

There were an additional 13 recoveries statewide, reported Oct. 17, increasing the number to 5,112.

And for the third consecutive day, a York County resident has died -- a man in his 70s. The number of Mainers with COVID-19 to die since the outbreak began in Maine in mid-March increased to 146.

This means number of active confirmed or probable statewide cases of COVID-19 increased by 34 cases, reaching 655, the state reported Oct. 17.

The peak was 714, reached May 24.

The number of active cases in Knox County is 11 with two new cases and three recoveries reported, the CDC reported Saturday.

There have been 57 cases overall diagnosed in Knox County residents since the pandemic struck Maine in mid-March. Forty-four people have recovered and one person died. Five Knox County residents have been hospitalized due to the new virus.

Knox County has recorded 24 new cases since Sept. 15. On Thursday, Oct. 8 the CDC announced it began to look into an outbreak at the Lonza biotechnology plant in Rockland. CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said the department would look to see if one worker spread the virus to the others or if they each were exposed outside the facility. There were six cases reported at Lonza, according to the CDC.

Also Oct. 8, RSU 40 confirmed two individuals associated with Warren Community School tested positive for COVID-19.

Lincoln County active cases increased by two, reaching seven as two additional cases were reported, the CDC reported Oct. 17. There have been 52 cases overall, 44 recoveries and one death. Five people have been hospitalized.

Waldo County's active cases jumped by seven with seven new cases, the CDC reported Saturday. There have been 102 cases overall, 61 recoveries and 14 deaths. Most of those cases occurred earlier in the summer at a long-term care facility.

This is an increase of 18 cases in two days.

The CDC issued a statement COVID-19 Saturday, Oct. 17 that it had started an outbreak investigation associated with the Brooks Pentecostal Church in the Waldo County town of Brooks. Seventeen people have tested positive as a result of that outbreak as of Saturday evening.

Late on Friday,  Regional School Unit 71, announced an individual at Capt. Albert Stevens School in Belfast had tested positive for the new virus.

Faculty and students who were in close contact with the person are being contacted and required to quarantine at home until Oct. 29. It is unclear if the infected person is a student or employee.

The CDC reported as of Oct. 7, there have been 286 positive tests of out-of-staters diagnosed in Maine, out of 11,180 tests given. This is not broken down by the county where they were diagnosed. Many of these positive tests are from New Hampshire residents who receive their medical care in Maine. The CDC said some of those positive tests are from the same non-Maine residents.

Of the cases statewide as of Oct. 15, 1,088 have been healthcare workers.

Since the outbreak began, 467 people have been hospitalized in Maine. There are currently 11 people in the hospital, five in critical care and one on a ventilator.

Of the 146 Maine people with COVID-19 who died, 77 were 80 years old or older, 45 were in their 70s, 14 were in their 60s, five in their 50s, three people in their 40s and one in their 30s and one in his 20s.

Cumberland County has seen the worst of the outbreak, with 70 of the deaths being residents from there. York County has had 20 deaths, Waldo County, 14 deaths, Kennebec 11, 10 in Androscoggin, eight in Somerset, six in Penobscot, two in Oxford County and one each in Knox, Lincoln, Aroostook, Franklin and Hancock counties.

Of the people who tested positive as of Oct. 15, the Maine CDC reports most were people in their 20s, who accounted for 968 of the confirmed cases since the outbreak started. There have been 953 in their 50s, 909 in their 30s, 823 in their 40s, 751 who were younger than 20, 677 people in their 60s, 426 in their 70s and 405 who were 80 or older.

Women account for 51% of the confirmed cases and men 49%.

The CDC figures show a dramatic disparity based on race. Of the 5,911 cases statewide, 992 of the people diagnosed have been black. That translates to 17% of the cases. Black people account for less than 2% of Maine's population.

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