As of 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15, seven Maine residents have been confirmed positive and five others are presumed positive for the coronavirus, according to the state. Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support this mission by purchasing a digital subscription.
Seven previous positive tests for coronavirus have been confirmed by federal health officials and another five people are likely to have it, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Four of Maine’s latest so-called presumptive positive cases appeared in Cumberland County and one in Lincoln County. That makes six new people this weekend who have tested positive for the virus, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus is likely being transmitted to and by people who have not traveled internationally, which is known as “community spread,” said Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Right now, that’s happening in Cumberland County but he expected it to continue into other parts of Maine.
The five new test results were from a lab affiliated with MaineHealth and are now being reviewed at the state’s Health and Environmental Testing Lab.
The first presumptive positive case in the state for someone under 18 is a teenage male residing in Cumberland County who is now isolated at home. According to a letter to parents from the Cape Elizabeth School District Superintendent Donna H. Wolfrom on Sunday evening, the boy is a student at Cape Elizabeth Middle School. The letter stated, in part, “Staff and students may have been exposed to the virus and we are informing you out of an abundance of caution. Please monitor yourself for signs and symptoms.”
A male in his 80s who tested positive is a resident at Oceanview in Falmouth, a senior living community. Maine CDC staff contacted the man, his medical provider and the administration of the facility. The Maine CDC has asked Oceanview to begin symptom checks on all residents immediately as a precautionary measure, as the test could potentially involve community spread. The man is hospitalized at Maine Medical Center. His spouse also tested positive.
A Cumberland County woman in her 70s is isolated at home. Health officials did not say if she is related to the man at Oceanview.
A Lincoln County health care worker in her 30s is isolated at home. Her employer has been contacted and steps are being taken to reduce exposure to patients, staff and other community members.
The fifth presumptive positive person is a male in his 40s.
In addition, one case identified Friday as a preliminary presumptive positive has been reclassified as negative, the Maine CDC said. That person is a woman in her 20s from York County who was being cared for at Maine Medical Center in Portland.
The latest news follows Saturday’s announcement that a woman in her 40s from Cumberland County tested presumptive positive after coming into close household contact with another likely patient, officials said Saturday.
The previous presumptive positive tests were announced Thursday in a Navy reservist in her 50s from Androscoggin County and Friday in a Portland municipal employee in his 50s whose result led to the closure of city buildings, including City Hall, for two weeks. Both are in self-isolation, as are another 30 people who came into contact with the Portland worker.
Maine was one of the last U.S. states to record its first positive test for the new coronavirus, which can cause flu-like symptoms that sometimes progress to pneumonia. The U.S. has reported more than 1,600 cases of the virus as of Friday in 46 states and the District of Columbia and 41 deaths, according to the U.S. CDC.
The state’s population is among the most vulnerable in the United States to serious illness from the virus. Maine’s most susceptible populations are older people and those with pre-existing health conditions that include hypertension, diabetes and asthma. The highest concentration of people vulnerable to serious illness if they contract the coronavirus is in rural areas of the state, health officials said.
Maine colleges and universities, including the University of Maine System, have shifted to online classes because of the virus.
Schools, including those in the Bangor and Portland areas, have begun to announce closures taking effect this week.
Watch: Symptoms of the coronavirus disease