Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday, Oct. 8, his office had recently become aware of a potential exposure risk associated with a hockey referee with COVID-19 who had officiated eight games over a two-day period.

The referee officiated at the Biddeford Ice Arena Oct. 3 for the 8:35 a.m. and 10:05 a.m. games. He also was at the Biddeford Ice Arena Oct. 4 for the 7:40 a.m., 9:20 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. games.

Shah said the referee was also at North Yarmouth Academy Oct. 4 from 6:30 p.m. until 10:15 p.m. The referee was also at the Merrill Fay Arena in Laconia, New Hampshire, Oct. 3 for the 5:45 p.m. game. Shah estimated that 400 people could have been exposed.

People on the ice should consider themselves close contacts and quarantine for 14 days, he said. Shah also suggested getting a COVID-19 test from one of the many swab-and-send sites across the state. For a list of sites, visit get-tested-covid19.org/.

Shah said since yesterday there were 35 new cases of COVID-19 in the state. In all, 5,639 people have contracted the disease and 459 cumulative hospitalizations. In the past 30 days, Shah said, 28 people have been hospitalized, with one currently in intensive care.

COVID-19 has claimed 142 lives in Maine and 4,900 people have recovered, he said. Cumberland County saw 27% of all new cases, York had 25%, and Kennebec County had 16%.

Speaking about new cases, he said BEK Inc. in Brunswick reported that four people have tested positive for the virus; Kids County Childcare in Augusta reported four people with the disease; Lonza Inc. in Rockland reported six people who tested positive; and the Department of Administrative and Financial Services in Augusta reported five people with the disease.

The Community Regional Charter School in Cornville is reporting 13 cases, with four students and nine staff testing positive for the virus; Woodland Pulp in Baileyville now has 19 people with the disease; ND Paper of Rumford has a total of 24 cases of COVID-19; and the Pinnacle Health and Rehab facility in Canton reports 22 cases, including 15 residents and seven staffers.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said his office has received 270,000 absentee ballots so far this year. This compares to a total of 42,000 in 2016.

Voters should be prepared for longer-than-normal wait times to vote in person, he said, because of capacity limits, social distancing and sanitation protocols. "You may have to wait outside, so be prepared for the weather," he said.

Election workers will be provided with personal protective equipment and required to wear face coverings. Voting booths will be sanitized and pens will be single-use. Dunlap said voters are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings, though no one will be turned away without one.

Dunlap said people can turn in their absentee ballots to their town office during business hours, use the mail service or use a drop box if their town has chosen to offer this option.

"Be aware that using a drop box you should only drop your ballot in your (own) town's drop box and it still needs to be put into the envelope and you need to sign the back flap," he said.

The state now offers an online absentee ballot tracking system to make sure your ballot has been received and accepted. To track your ballot, visit tinyurl.com/yys24n4a. For voter questions, call 626-8400 or sos.office@maine.gov.


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