March 14, 2020
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Robert Long, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert.Long@maine.gov or (207) 287-9395
AUGUSTA — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) today announced a third presumptive positive test for the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual is a woman in her 40s from Cumberland County who was a close household contact of another individual who had presumptively tested positive for the virus. Maine CDC’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL) staff today validated the sample from a lab affiliated with MaineHealth to establish the presumptive positive finding.
There are now three presumptive positive tests in Maine. Samples from presumptive positive tests are sent to the U.S. CDC for confirmation.
Maine CDC today announced two additional preliminary presumptive positive test results from a laboratory affiliated with MaineHealth. There are now three preliminary presumptive positive tests in Maine, including one that was announced on Friday. All three remain under review by Maine CDC. Additional details will be released when they become available. Preliminary presumptive positive tests are currently sent to Maine CDC for review. Those deemed presumptive positive are sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) for confirmation.
On Thursday, Governor Janet Mills announced the state’s first presumptive positive test, a woman in her 50s from Androscoggin County. A second presumptive positive test involving a man in his 50s from Cumberland County was reported on Friday.
At present, Maine CDC has three categories related to positive test results:
- Confirmed cases: U.S. CDC has confirmed Maine CDC lab results. Maine has no confirmed cases at this time.
- Presumptive positive tests: Asample sent by a health provider directly to the Maine CDC lab tests positive or the Maine CDC lab validates positive results from non-governmental labs. Maine CDC sends samples from presumptive positive tests to U.S. CDC for confirmation. At present, Maine has three presumptive positive tests.
- Preliminary presumptive positive tests: Samples test positive at non-governmental labs. The samples are sent to the Maine CDC lab for validation. Maine has three preliminary presumptive positive tests at this time.
The immediate concern is for the care and treatment of the individuals who have presumptively tested positive. Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah is scheduled to be available at 11 a.m. Monday, March 16, at the Department of Health and Human Services, 109 Capitol St., Augusta, for a media briefing, where he will provide more information on these cases, if available.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, shortness of breath, and lower respiratory distress. Individuals who exhibit those symptoms are advised to contact medical providers before going to a health care facility. Medical providers will make initial determinations about who should be tested.
Maine people can protect their health by taking the same preventive measures that help to avoid catching a cold: Wash your hands often for 20 seconds. Cover coughs and sneezes. Stay home if you are sick.
On Thursday, Governor Mills announced three steps in response to the first presumptive positive test for COVID-19 in Maine. These steps include: 1) proclaiming an insurance emergency to improve access to care and require private health insurance plans to cover costs related to coronavirus testing; 2) suspending all non-essential out-of-state work travel by State employees; and 3) recommending, on the advice of Maine CDC, that non-essential large, indoor gatherings of 250 attendees or more be postponed in order to delay a potential coronavirus outbreak and substantially reduce its spread.
Last week, Governor Mills convened a Coronavirus Response Team, led by Maine CDC Director Shah and composed of key individuals in her Administration, to coordinate State government’s response across departments and local agencies and health authorities to the threat of COVID-19. The response team builds on the work that has already been done by the Maine CDC to prepare for potential cases of COVID-19.
For more information
Contact 211 Maine for answers to frequently asked questions on COVID-19:
· Dial 211(or 1-866-811-5695)
· Text your ZIP code to 898-211
· Email firstname.lastname@example.org
· 211 is TTY and Video Relay accessible if calling from Maine
· Visit www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus.