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Another 56 cases of the coronavirus were confirmed throughout the state on Friday, bringing Maine’s total number of COVID-19 patients to 432.
Cases are currently being reported in 15 of Maine’s 16 counties, according to the latest information provided by Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav Shah. Seventy-five patients have been hospitalized at some point during their illness, while 113 patients have recovered from the virus, Shah said.
The 56 new cases, the largest single-day increase thus far, is “concerning,” Shah said.
The Maine CDC also reported two new deaths on Friday, bringing the state total to nine. Both individuals were from Cumberland County — one a male in his 70s, and the other a female in her 80s.
Shah would not confirm for confidentiality reasons if these new deaths included a Maine veteran who reportedly died from COVID-19 complications on Thursday at the Togas VA Medical Center in Augusta.
The first new cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday in Aroostook and Washington counties, with one confirmed case each. The Aroostook patient was treated at Houlton Regional Hospital, according to the hospital’s infection preventionist Ellen Bartlett.
Seventy-five of the confirmed cases are among health care workers, according to Shah. A case of COVID-19 was also confirmed in a student associated with Thornton Academy in Saco.
Eleven individuals in the Maine Department of Corrections have been tested. As of Friday, seven tests are still pending and four have come back negative.
Cumberland County remains the hardest hit county in the state, reporting 222 total cases on Friday, with 64 patients recovered and seven deaths. York County reported the second highest number of cases with 89.
Additional cases have been detected in Androscoggin (19), Franklin (4), Hancock (2), Kennebec (19), Knox (9), Lincoln (8), Oxford (10), Penobscot (20), Sagadahoc (12), Somerset (2) and Waldo (3) counties. An additional 11 cases are of unknown origin.
Cumberland and York counties are the only ones in which community transmission has been confirmed, Shah said Friday.
The Maine CDC continues to investigate the possibility of community transmission in Androscoggin, Kennebec, Penobscot and Sagadahoc counties, Shah said Wednesday. There are two criteria for establishing community transmission: at least 10 confirmed cases and that at least 25 percent of those are not connected to either known cases or travel. Shah said that the second condition has not yet been “satisfied” in those four counties.
A majority of the cases have been in Maine residents over age 50, while they are evenly split between women and men.
Overall, the Maine CDC staff has made more than 4,100 consults since the start of their investigation.
Maine CDC’s laboratory in Augusta currently has the capacity to perform 3,500 tests for individuals who may have the coronavirus.
“We are continuing to keep tabs on the supply of the chemicals, the reagents, that are used as part of this testing and we continue to make sure that we can order in advance so that our testing abilities at the state level remain as robust as possible,” Shah said.
The Maine CDC is also working with private commercial laboratories as well as hospital-based laboratories to expand the availability of testing across the state.
Of the 289 intensive care unit beds throughout the state, 110 are available as of Friday, Shah said. Of the 324 ventilators, 267 are available. Just under 200 alternative ventilators are also available, and 127 respiratory therapists are currently active in Maine hospitals.
Shah added over 109,000 pieces of personal protective equipment is being distributed on Friday to health care workers and frontline responders across the state.
“These shipments entail over 8,400 N95 masks, over 40,000 surgical masks, nearly 2,000 disposable protective suits, 33,000 gloves, almost 16,000 face shields and over 10,000 surgical gowns,” he said.
The shipments that are going out Friday are going out to emergency medical service providers, funeral homes, law enforcement settings, hospitals and congregate living settings, such as long-term care facilities, Shah said.
Friday’s latest case numbers come just one day after a new stay-at-home order from Democratic Gov. Janet Mills took effect. It’s the strongest move yet from the state government to halt the spread of the coronavirus. That will remain in effect until at least April 30.
Nationwide, more than 250,000 Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and more than 6,000 patients have died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. Elsewhere in New England, there have been 154 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 112 in Connecticut, 17 in Vermont, 12 in Rhode Island and five in New Hampshire.
More than 1 million people have been diagnosed worldwide, with more than 55,000 deaths.
Watch: 6 ways you can prevent COVID-19