Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nrav Shah announced Aug. 4 that there have been 123 total COVID-19 deaths in the state. There are currently 12 people hospitalized and 3,975 current cases of the virus in Maine.

The state's weekly point positivity rate is at a new all-time low at 0.87%, according to Shah. He said this is a stark difference from the national weekly point positivity rate, which is up to 8%.

A recent death reported by the Maine CDC was retracted because it was discovered that that case did not meet the criteria to be counted as a coronavirus death, according to Shah.

He encouraged people to develop a plan now about how to access a vaccine when and if one becomes available. He said people should talk to their health care providers about eligibility and to make sure they are up to date on all vaccines. A number of pop-up vaccine clinics have opened around the state to provide families with easy access to vaccines.

Maine CDC is currently developing a plan to increase statewide access to a possible vaccine when one is ready, rather than wait until after one is developed.

He said there are 160 coronavirus vaccines in development currently and 27 of them are in human trial phases. Two companies are in advanced human trial stages with promising results.

Moderna, a U.S. pharmaceutical company, was given $1 billion by the federal government for research in using messenger RNA therapy in its vaccine, Shah said. It is about to enter into another round of human trials, this time with 30,000 people from around the country.

A United Kingdom company developing a vaccine was given $1.2 billion by the U.S. government to develop its vaccine that activates the body's immune system. It is in phase three human trials testing individuals in South America and Africa.

People should tread lightly when discussing coronavirus vaccines with some people who are skeptical about vaccines, Dr. Shah said. He encouraged people to try to understand why some people hold differing beliefs and consider where they get their information.

He discussed issues raised about tourists who have come to Maine with the virus but did not know their test was positive until they were already in the state. He reiterated the rules for tourists coming to Maine that they are required to quarantine until they get their test results. There have been 170 positive test results among tourists, an increase of 11 since last week.