Across the state a record number of people contracted COVID-19 in a 24-hour period.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday, Nov. 13, 243 new cases of coronavirus have been reported, bringing the number of people who have had the disease in the state to 8,639.

“The possibility of exponential growth,” Shah said, “has been realized.”

Along with the record spike in cases, three more individuals have died from complications associated with COVID-19. Two men in their 70s, one from Penobscot County, the other from Androscoggin County; and one woman in her 80s from Androscoggin County. This brings the death toll to 162, he said.

Among the 243 new cases, 28% are from Androscoggin County and 15% are from Cumberland County. In the past 30 days, Shah said, 94 people have been hospitalized. Currently there are 66 people in the hospital with 18 in intensive care units and six on ventilators.

Shah said there are currently 92 intensive care units available across the state.

Waldo County saw an increase of three new COVID-19 cases since yesterday, for a total of 41 active cases. In all 188 people have tested positive for the disease, with 16 deaths and 131 recoveries. There are now 15 people hospitalized with the disease.

In new outbreaks, Faith Bible College in Charleston reported three people with the virus. The college was previously mentioned as having been linked to the Brooks Pentelcostal Church outbreak in mid-October.

Husson University reported 15 individuals with the disease; Lawrence Junior High School in Fairfield and Portland High School each reported three cases; and Skowhegan-Madison Elks Lodge reported five people who have tested positive for the virus.

A recent outbreak reported at Russell Park Rehabilitation and Living facility in Lewiston has 129 cases including 64 residents, and 65 staffers. Three deaths  have been reported.

Shah said the number of new outbreaks “seems concerning,” with social gatherings leading to more potential community spread. “It is an unvirtuous cycle,” he said, “making each social gathering risky…”

Early on in the pandemic, 50% to 70% of cases, he said, were tied to outbreaks. Currently the number of cases tied to outbreaks is around 20%.

“Where we go from here is up to us,” Shah said. “We have the tools to cut off the virus at every pass…”

Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew of the Department of Health and Human Services said starting Monday, Nov. 16, Massachusetts residents will no longer be exempt from testing or quarantine when they enter Maine.

Currently only New Hampshire and Vermont are exempt, with Connecticut, New York and New Jersey having been taken off the exempt status Nov. 4.

People traveling to Maine from a state that is not exempt must have a negative test result within 72 hours of arriving or quarantine for 14 days. This also applies to Maine residents returning to the state after traveling from a state with a higher positivity rate, Lambrew said.

“We urge travelers to know before you go,” she said.

In closing, Shah said in the past 13 days, the situation in Maine has gotten significantly worse, with over 1,000 new cases reported. “What we have feared for so long, as the weather has changed, is squarely in front of us,” he said.

Shah encouraged residents to continue wearing face coverings and keep social distancing.

“Keep in mind the number of people that have been affected by the disease,” he said. “Keep in mind all the people that have had to be hospitalized and all the people who have had to arrange funerals.”

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