Maine Expanding Contact Tracing To Reduce Spread of COVID-19
Governor Janet Mills announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services will be expanding contact tracing by expanding staff and using new technology.
Contact tracing is a process that identifies, assesses, and protects people who have been exposed to COVID-19 to prevent them from transmitting it to others.
“Expanded testing and contact tracing are critical to both identifying and limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Maine,” Governor Mills said in a press release on her website. “By increasing the number of people conducting contact tracing and by deploying the new Sara Alert system to assist us, we can improve our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, protect the health of Maine people, and support our goal of safely restarting Maine’s economy.”
The technology being used to track these cases is called The Sara Alert system, which lets people who have been diagnosed or may have been exposed to COVID-19 to report symptoms on a daily basis online or over the phone which provides real time information that can be used to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Maine CDC has been using The Sara Alert for a week and already has logged 345 contacts in the system.
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah announced today during the daily coronavirus briefing that total number of cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Maine is now at 2,109, an increase of 35 since Thursday. 1,894 of those cases are confirmed while 215 are deemed probable.
1,318 people diagnosed with COIVD-19 have recovered, an increase of 28.
One new death was reported, bringing the total number to 79.
The total number of active cases is 712, an increase of 31.
258 patients have had to be hospitalized at some point. 60 are currently hospitalized with 26 of those in critical care and 13 patients on ventilators.
A new statistic that is now being reported by the Maine CDC is the number of tests for COVID-19 that have been performed. This will replace the stat of how many individuals have been tested. That weekly reported cumulative number of tests that have been performed is 40,609. That number is updated each Wednesday.
At the Cape Memory Care assisted living facility in Cape Elizabeth. 47 residents and 20 staff at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19. One person at the facility has passed away.
At the Cianbro construction site, where the Maine Veterans Home is bring built in Augusta, there are 26 workers how have been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, with 11 of those people being full-time Maine residents while the others are out of state residents. The Maine CDC is still investigating to try to find how the transmission of the disease occurred and what other risk factors they can identify to keep other construction sites safe.
Governor Janet Mills extended Maine's State of Emergency to June 11 allowing the state government to use resources to protect the health and safety of Mainers and to continue to receive Federal resources. The extension does not affect the timing of the phased Stay Safer at Home Order is currently in effect through May 31.
Phase 1 of Maine's four phase plan to reopen the state continues the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people. People who are able to work from home should continue to do so, and people should wear cloth face coverings in public settings where physical distancing measures are hard to maintain.
If the Maine CDC detects any resurgence of the virus, the state will slow down the stages and reinstate restrictions.
On May 8, Governor Janet Mills announced a plan to allow certain businesses to open in designated counties beginning May 11.
The counties affected by the rural reopening plan are Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Somerset, Franklin, Oxford, Kennebec, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc. All of these counties have not had shown evidence of community transmission of COVID-19.
Retail stores in these counties may now open to customers provided they adopt the health and safety precautions that the state is releasing. The precautions include restricting the number of customers in the store at any one time, enhancing cleaning and sanitation practices, and maximizing touch free transactions wherever possible.
Restaurants in these counties may open for outdoor dining and for limited dine-in service providing they adopt health and safety precautions, such as physically distancing customers, making sure employees follow enhanced hygiene and sanitation practices and controlling customer flow by making reservations only whenever possible.
Remote campsites and sporting camps may reopen with public safe guards.
The statewide plan to re-open has had some minor adjustments as well. Fitness and exercise centers statewide are now be permitted to open for outdoor classes of 10 people or less or for one-on-one personal training instruction inside.
<a href="https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/news/governor-mills-presents-safe-gradual-plan-restart-maines-economy-2020-04-28">For a more complete listing of the stages and the governor's layout of those stages, click here.</a>
<a href="https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists" target="_blank">Click or tap here to see the state's modified COVID-19 prevention checklist.</a>
If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, including a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, the Maine CDC says you should call your doctor before going in so that they can prepare for your arrival. The Maine CDC continues to update with new information daily. Keep checking on our mobile app or website to get the latest.