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CDC: York outbreaks 'deeply concerning'

By Fran Gonzalez | Sep 08, 2020

Augusta — Two new COVID-19 outbreaks were reported in York County at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention briefing Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said the Lafayette Club in Sanford reported two staff members and one patron have tested positive for COVID-19. The other outbreak was at the Sanford American Legion, where a reception was held after a funeral and subsequently four people have tested positive for the disease.

In York County, Shah said, there are also outbreaks at Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, Sanford Fire Department, Seal Rock Health Care in Saco and the York County Jail.

“No matter what scenario we find ourselves in,” Shah said, “it is still concerning,” and added that the positivity rate in York County is three times the state average.

If the two outbreaks are not connected, he said, that would mean community transmission "is getting to a certain point where it is creating outbreaks." He also said it would suggest face coverings "are not where they need to be."

If they are connected, Shah said, it would suggest that public health advice is either not reaching those who have been part of identified outbreaks, or is not being heeded.

“Two outbreaks in a 36-hour period ... is deeply concerning,” he said.

Speaking on outbreaks associated with the Aug. 7 Millinocket wedding, Shah said there are now 158 individuals with COVID-19 linked to the event, along with three fatalities.

Shah noted that the three people who have died did not attend the wedding, and said this highlighted how “quickly, silently and efficiently” the disease can spread.

Of the 158 cases associated with the wedding event, 55 people were present at the event. One was a secondary contact of a wedding guest who was a staffer at Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center in Madison. As a result, there have been 20 subsequent cases at that facility, including nine residents and 11 other staff members.

In addition, there was a staff member from the York County Jail who attended the wedding. Because of that person’s exposure, 17 other staff members and 48 inmates at the jail contracted the virus. Also, Shah said, there are seven family members of staffers at the jail who have tested positive for the virus, while nine family members have probable cases.

Statewide, there were 12 new individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to 4,713. In all, 429 people have been hospitalized over the course of the pandemic, while currently seven people remain in the hospital; six are in intensive care units and one is on a ventilator.

Overall, 4,086 people have recovered, while 134 individuals have died from the disease. Among the COVID-19 cases in the state, 999 have been among health care workers, of whom 933 have recovered.

In testing, Shah said that out of 2,679 tests performed yesterday, the one-day positivity rate is 0.75%, while the seven-day avarage is 0.55%.  The national seven-day average, he said, was 6%.

Out of 8,000 total tests administered to people from out of state, Shah said, there were 238 positive test results.

In Waldo County there are currently three active cases, a total of 72 individuals have had coronavirus and 14 have died. Three people are currently in the hospital,and 55 people have recovered from the disease.

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