Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday, Nov. 12, that in the last 48 hours three people have died from complications associated with COVID-19.

One death was reported today, he said, a man in his 70s from Androscoggin County. Yesterday, he said, two people died; one was a man in his 80s from Knox County; the other a woman in her 70s from Waldo County. The deaths mark the 157th, 158th and 159th associated with the virus across the state.

Across the state there were 194 new cases of the virus since yesterday. Currently, there are 62 people hospitalized across the state, with 16 in intensive care units and six on ventilators. In looking at new cases, Shah said, 20% are from Androscoggin County, 17% are from Cumberland County and 16% are from York County.

In Waldo County there are four new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 42 active cases. In all, 16 people have died in the county because of the disease, 127 have recovered and there have been 186 cumulative cases. Currently 15 people are hospitalized.

Waldo County has the fifth-highest case rate per 10,000 people with 46.9; Cumberland County has 105.5; Androscoggin County has 100.4; York County has 81.7; and Somerset County has 62.3.

Shah said there would soon be a new drug therapy authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, which would be available in Maine in the next coming days. The drug, called bamlanivimab, is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Maine will be receiving 90 doses every week for the next several months, according to Shah.

“The primary function of this drug is to try to keep folks out of the hospital,” Shah said, and added it was most effective in people over 65 and individuals with significant health conditions like obesity or lung conditions.

“It is for people with underlying conditions,” he said. The drug should be administered as soon as possible after a positive COVID-19 test, and within 10 days of developing symptoms.

Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew of the Department of Health and Human Services said Maine will be receiving 400,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests by Nov. 23, which will be available at Walgreens Pharmacies across the state.

The free test will be available by appointment, and will also be distributed at two dozen swab-and-send sites across the state. With this test, Lambrew said, people will swab themselves and results will be available in approximately an hour.

For a complete list of available sites, visit maine.gov/covid19/restartingmaine/keepmainehealthy/testing.

Shah reiterated that current transmissions are driven by small family gatherings. “Now is more important than ever” he said, to continue to wear a face covering, keep social distancing and practice good hand hygiene.

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