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State reports 339 new COVID-19 cases, one death

By Fran Gonzalez | Dec 21, 2020

Augusta — Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention posted Monday, Dec. 21, that 339 additional people had tested positive for COVID-19 since yesterday. Also one new death was reported.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said currently there are 170 people in the hospital across Maine, with 44 individuals in intensive care units and 18 on ventilators. Overall 293 people have died because of the disease.

In Waldo County, 12 more cases were reported since Friday of last week. The total now stands at 339 cases, with 17 deaths and 18 people currently in the hospital. According to the Maine CDC website, there are118 active cases in Waldo County, an increase of 10 since last Friday.

Speaking on new outbreaks being investigated, Shah said Caribou Rehab and Nursing Center reported five cases, Deering High School in Portland also had five cases, and Portland High School has reported three people who tested positive for COVID-19.

Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, which last week reported 32 cases of the virus, currently has 48 individuals with the disease, including 40 staff and eight patients.

A total of 4,682 Mainers have received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Shah said this total was an underestimate because of a date-reporting technology glitch and he expects the number to be higher.

The first shipment of the anticipated 24,000 doses of the recently approved Moderna vaccine arrive today, he said. These doses are being shipped primarily to smaller rural hospitals that don't have access to ultra-cold storage freezers, he said.

The state's partnership with the federal CDC and commercial pharmacies to provide long-term care facilities with onsite clinics began today with the first individuals receiving vaccinations.

When asked about adverse affects of the vaccine, Shah said that after the 550,000 first doses administered across the U.S., only six people had serious allergic reactions to the shot.

The reactions were recognized and treated, Shah said, and none of the six people had to be hospitalized. Shah recommended people get the vaccine even if they previously contracted the disease saying the immunity level from the shot will be higher or more robust than the body's natural immunity.

Shah said he anticipates vaccine doses will be available community-wide in June, July, August or September. "We hope it will be sooner, but it all depends on what the long-term production will be," he said.

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