Maine wedding outbreak not closed; school risk improves
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s investigation into a coronavirus outbreak that stemmed from a wedding and reception in the northern part of the state is still not fully closed.
The outbreak is linked to at least seven deaths and more than 175 cases of the virus. Maine officials have said the outbreak originated at a wedding and reception in the Millinocket area and spread to other parts of the state.
One of the focal points of the outbreak was the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, and it spread to the York County Jail in Alfred, Maine officials have said. Those aspects of the investigation are now closed, said Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Nirav Shah.
The outbreak also spread to Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center in Madison, Shah and other Maine officials have said. That facility, which was the site of six deaths from the virus, is continuing with testing, Shah said.
“They have also had stability,” Shah said. “They still need to meet the requirements for closure.”
In other news related to the pandemic in Maine:
Another 41 coronavirus cases have been reported in the state, the Maine CDC reported Friday.
That brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Maine to 5,865, while the number of deaths increased by one to 145, officials said. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine was about 31, which was the same as it was a week ago.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services said Friday it has submitted its plan for distributing an eventual coronavirus vaccine to the federal government. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked all the states for such plans.
Maine’s plan states that the virus has disproportionately affected racial minorities, older residents and people with serious chronic medical conditions. The state DHHS said in a statement that the plan “includes strategies to ensure these groups are successfully vaccinated.”
The plan states that phase one of the vaccine roll out would include health care workers, people who work in critical infrastructure and people who work and live in congregate settings.
The Maine Department of Education said Friday it has reclassified York County as a “green county” per the state’s color-coded Health Advisory System. All of the other counties in Maine are also listed green, which denotes the least amount of risk of coronavirus transmission.
York, in southern Maine, had previously been listed “yellow,” which denotes moderate risk. The education department said in a statement that the change reflects that York “demonstrates improved metrics, including a falling case rate per 10,000 of 4.67 and a lower positivity rate of 0.9 percent.”
The green designation could help York County schools resume extracurricular activities such as sports.