The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 36 cases of the novel coronavirus and no additional deaths, as President Trump’s chief of staff announced that he was improving, but “not out of the woods,” in his treatment for COVID-19.
Trump survived a “very concerning” period Friday and faces a “critical” next two days at Walter Reed Military Medical Center, his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said Saturday. On Sunday, Trump’s doctors said he was improving, despite having had two drops in his oxygen levels over the previous two days. They have him on a course of dexamethasone, a steroid, among other therapeutics and said if he continues to improve, he could go home Monday.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on Sunday announced she had tested negative for COVID-19, despite infections among some of her Senate Republican colleagues, to whom she sent her well wishes.
I have tested negative for COVID. Although I had almost no contact with my three colleagues who have tested positive, I thought it prudent to get tested. My thoughts are with the President, FLOTUS, my colleagues & all who are infected.
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) October 4, 2020
Three Republican senators – Thom Tillis, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee – have tested positive for COVID-19. Two of them sit on the Senate committee that will handle the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s pick to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
On Sunday, Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 5,519, representing a net increase of 33 cases since Saturday. The reported number of new cases on Sunday – 36 – is higher than the difference in daily totals because the Maine CDC revises its numbers of cumulative total cases based on how many “probable” cases later test negative, and on the results of contact tracing investigations.
Of those 5,519 cumulative cases, 4,944 have been confirmed by testing and 575 are considered probable cases of COVID-19.
One hundred forty-two people have died with COVID-19 in Maine, and 4,782 have recovered from the disease. Maine had 595 active cases on Sunday.
Trump announced his illness early Friday morning; by that evening, feeling symptoms of fever and fatigue, he boarded the Marine One helicopter to be taken to Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland. On Saturday, a team of doctors held a press conference on the steps of the hospital and reported that the president was in good spirits, had strong vital signs, was not on supplemental oxygen and was undergoing a five-day course of remdesivir therapy, an antiviral medication.
But according to The Associated Press, Trump was administered supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday morning, before he was taken to the hospital. The contradictory accounts from Trump’s staffers, doctors and from the president himself have bred rumors and opened up space for misinformation.
Back in Maine, a review of internal documents from the York County Jail indicates that officials there flouted mask-wearing regulations before a COVID-19 outbreak spread to nearly half the inmates and correctional officers, and then into the surrounding community.
Sheriff Bill King has said that masks were not mandatory for inmates or guards; in fact, an investigation by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram reveals, officials at the jail either actively discouraged masks or disallowed them entirely.
One of the largest single outbreaks in Maine, the York County Jail is now up to 87 cases, the Maine CDC said Friday. That includes 48 inmates, 19 people who work in the building and 20 household contacts of employees.
Maine state officials have cited eight more businesses for pandemic-related safety violations since mid-September, including Pat’s Pizza in Portland, which failed to require customers to wear masks when not seated, as well as other restaurants, a pool hall in Bangor and a campground in Millinocket.
Only one business, Rick’s Cafe in Naples, still had a suspended license as of mid-last week.
A spate of outbreaks in York County continues to account for a large part of the state’s overall virus infections. As of Thursday, the Maine CDC was responding to 17 outbreaks in York County, which has become the state’s new epicenter, generating 40 percent of all new cases over the past two weeks.
The University of Maine System on Sunday reported no change in the number of active cases across its eight schools. There are still five cases – one at the University of Maine Farmington, three at the University of Maine in Orono and one at the University of Maine at Augusta.
County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 767 COVID-19 cases in Androscoggin, 48 in Aroostook, 2,350 in Cumberland, 63 in Franklin, 55 in Hancock, 225 in Kennebec, 44 in Knox, 50 in Lincoln, 152 in Oxford, 263 in Penobscot, nine in Piscataquis, 72 in Sagadahoc, 86 in Somerset, 78 in Waldo, 19 in Washington, and 1,238 in York.
By age, 11.9 percent of patients were under 20, while 16.7 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 14.1 percent were in their 40s, 16 percent were in their 50s, 11.6 percent were in their 60s, 7.3 percent were in their 70s, and 7.1 percent were 80 or over.
Women still make up a slight majority of cases, at just over 51 percent.
Effective Oct. 1, the Maine CDC says it will no longer update hospital capacity data on weekends. On Friday, Maine’s hospitals had 11 patients with COVID-19, of whom two were in intensive care and one was on a ventilator. The state had 106 intensive care unit beds available of a total 381, and 246 ventilators available of 318. There were also 444 alternative ventilators.
Around the world on Sunday evening, there were 35 million known cases of COVID-19 and more than 1 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had over 7.4 million cases and 209,749 deaths.
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