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CDC reports 218 new COVID-19 cases

By Fran Gonzalez | Feb 18, 2021

Augusta — The daily COVID-19 case count in Maine jumped from 91 on Tuesday, to 218 today. There was no new report of the B117 variant, and hospitalizations associated with the virus showed a decrease from 92 on Feb. 16 to 89 Feb. 18.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday that the seven-day PCR positivity rate is also down slightly, from 1.57% Tuesday to 1.36% today.

A man in his 40s from Cumberland County has died from the virus since yesterday, marking the 655th Maine death from the virus since the pandemic began.

As of today 265,991 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, of which 185,906 have been first doses and 80,085 second or final doses.

Shah said next week Maine would be receiving 27,740 new first doses, with 13,700 Moderna and 14,040 Pfizer vaccines, a net increase of 3,510.

Saturday, Feb. 20, the Maine CDC will be shifting 3,900 doses from a CVS warehouse to the general pool, he said, because they were not being used. Shah said the CDC wanted every single dose made available for Maine people right away.

The Cross Insurance Center in Bangor discovered after a review that it had more capacity than anticipated. For people 70 and over who will be in Bangor, Shah said, “This is available to you.”

“You can schedule an appointment now,” he said, adding that it is not necessary to be a patient of Northern Light to take part in this vaccination effort. To schedule an appointment, call 204-8551 or sign up at covid.northernlighthealth.org. While the supply of the vaccine in the state is limited, appointments will be added as doses become available.

"These high-throughput sites are a way to come in and get vaccinated with a high degree of efficiency," Shah said.

For a list of sites currently administering COVID-19 vaccines, visit maine.gov/covid19/vaccines/vaccination-sites.  Shah said it is important to remember that it is not necessary to be a patient to receive a shot at these locations and that “it is a good start to see what places are around you.”

Another option for vaccination is the Walmart and Sam's Club partnership, he said.

In all, 22 Walmart and two Sam's Club pharmacy locations around the state have been administering COVID-19 shots in addition to the allotment Maine CDC receives from the federal government. To see a list of available store sites, visit tinyurl.com/14blqt8b.

The religious gathering capacity, which was updated Feb. 12 by an executive order from the governor was discussed briefly. Under the updated order, houses of worship may now accommodate five people per 1,000 square feet of space, or up to 50 people, whichever is greater.

Previously, the number of people who could gather in churches was limited to 50. Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew of the Department of Health and Human Services said it was done to be more equitable with respect to retail stores, which have the same capacity limits.

Critical public health measures, such as requirements to wear face coverings and maintain at least six feet of distance, remain in effect for all venues, including houses of worship.

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