Maine shatters daily record with 551 brand-new cases of COVID-19 – Press Herald

16December 2020

Maine shattered its daily record with 551 new cases of COVID-19 reported Wednesday, just one day after front-line healthcare employees received the first vaccines in Maine.

Wednesday’s surge marked the first time cases have topped 500 and comes less than two weeks after Maine first cleared 400 everyday cases, with 425 on Dec. 6.

“We are directly seeing the results of (COVID-19) transmission that took place in and around Thanksgiving. Case numbers are going up and up and up,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Avoidance, stated during a media instruction Wednesday. “It’s not just Maine, it’s occurring throughout the nation.”

While case numbers continue to reach extraordinary levels, there has actually been positive news today with the beginning of vaccination efforts. At least 720 nurses, medical professionals and other health care employees at medical facilities throughout Maine who are at greatest danger for exposure to COVID-19 had actually been inoculated by late afternoon Wednesday– and thousands more are set to join them in the coming weeks.

But it will take months prior to vaccines have an impact on COVID-19 spread, Shah stated.

“There will be cases of COVID-19 that continue even after vaccinations have begun in earnest,” he stated, adding that the end of the pandemic resembles a “very long tail,” and the infection will continue to distribute, although ideally cases will decrease in 2021. It may take half the population to get immunized before case rates decline considerably.

Shah said he’s worried about the approaching holiday season and the possibility of people gathering with friends and family outside their homes.

“If staying at home, staying in your pod or in your bubble is something that’s available to you, that’s absolutely the most practical thing you can do this winter,” he stated.

The seven-day day-to-day average of COVID-19 cases in Maine increased to 409.3 on Wednesday, compared to 329.7 a week earlier and 177.3 a month earlier. It took only one week for the seven-day average to increase from 300 cases to more than 400 cases. The dive from 200 cases– very first seen on Nov. 2– to 300 cases took about 2 and a half weeks. New cases were reported in every Maine county, led by Cumberland County with 147 and York County with 146.

Just considering that Monday, the Maine CDC has opened numerous outbreak examinations, consisting of at four schools, a hair salon in Norway, the Newport Town Office and the Cumberland County Prison. A break out at York Medical facility has grown to 36 employee and 14 clients.

< a href="" data-caption ="A pedestrian strolls past a store advertising masks in the Old Port Friday, Dec. 11. Governor Mills signed an executive order today requiring businesses and public areas of any size and for any amount of individuals to mandate mask using. Personnel picture by Shawn Patrick Ouellette”> A pedestrian strolls past a shop in the Old Port on Dec. 11. Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order that day needing organizations and public areas of any size and for any number of individuals to mandate mask wearing. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer The Maine CDC likewise reported 2 additional deaths Wednesday: lady in her 80s from Androscoggin County and a guy in his 80s from Oxford County. Because the pandemic began, Maine has tape-recorded 17,311 validated or possible cases of COVID-19 and 267 deaths. Total cases have doubled in a bit more than a month. The variety of deaths just this month increased to 50 and is on speed to eclipse last month’s overall of 67, which was the greatest to date.

Hospitalizations stay high as well, although the number did decrease by eight on Wednesday. There are currently 187 individuals in the hospital with COVID-19, including 46 in critical care and 18 on ventilators. Shah said there are still adequate medical facility beds to handle a surge, but it’s something authorities monitor closely.

On Tuesday morning, Maine Medical Center nurse Kayla Mitchell became the first person in Maine to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Thousands more health care employees will follow in the coming days.

At Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Dr. Claudia Geyer was one of the first to be immunized, and she pleaded with individuals to stop collecting with others outside of immediate family, even for Christmas.

“COVID is so real and so devastating,” Geyer stated, noting that most of the COVID patients they are treating attended events over the Thanksgiving vacation weekend. “Please bear in mind that. We said that would occur and here it is. And Christmas is around the corner.

“We’re so scared that, again, in mid-January our system will be filled with people who just wished to be with their household for Christmas.”

Maine is anticipated to get about 75,000 dosages of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of December, with production and distribution of the vaccines ramping up in 2021. It’s hard to predict when the vaccine will be widely available to the public, however that might occur in the spring or early summertime, public health professionals state, depending on how efficiently the circulation and mass immunization programs go.

Meanwhile, dental experts and dental hygienists are volunteering to be part of the group that vaccinates the general public once vaccine supplies end up being more numerous in 2021. Shah said both groups and others will “definitely” be considered to be part of the vaccinating team.

“We’re thinking about deals from members of the oral community, retired pharmacists, nursing students, medical trainees all those different vaccinator groups,” Shah said on Wednesday.

Sun Journal Staff Writer Lindsay Tice contributed to this report.

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