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code nineteen pandemic on March

twelfth main reported its first positive presumptive case of co in March twelfth seems like yesterday as of today November eighteenth nine thousand five hundred and nineteen people in Maine have contracted code nineteen six hundred people have been hospitalized because of code nineteen and a hundred and seventy million people have died with covert nineteen last month it seems like just yesterday we had an average about twenty new daily cases seven people in the hospital and a positively rate seven day positivity rate about one five eight sometimes even lower today we recorded a hundred and fifty six new cases daily cases eighty five people in the hospital up from seven and the seven day positivity rate now about two point six six percent you know the winter surge that we were warned about it’s not just coming it’s here and it’s is expanding its growing by the day back in March we looked we knew very little about the virus but public health experts warned us that we had to flatten the curve the rate of new infections better hospitals from being overloaded and overwhelmed and unable to treat patients of any sort for any reason along with almost every other governor in the country I have made the difficult decisions order me people to stay at home as much as possible to close nonessential businesses to recommend schools and in person instruction that was last spring it decisions were actually the last thing that I wanted to do was governor of the state of Maine would you want to tell people that they can’t mourn the loss of a loved one at a funeral can’t celebrate a graduation from high school can’t gather with friends and family to mark another the mother important events I don’t want to return it was necessary at the time and it worked things are different now both for better and for worse we’ve developed a better understanding of the virus we develop new treatments to prevent it intense effects not widely used yet but they’re getting there we worked hard with our hospitals healthcare systems municipalities to expand our search to and stockpiled personal protective equipment before we come to know as VP we put in place safeguards to reopen our schools and businesses and with promising news almost daily on a code nineteen vaccines we’re preparing for the distribution of vaccines in stages over time as they are approved manufactured and then distributed at the same time badly needed financial support is dwindling from the federal government unemployment benefits are expiring and Congress and the president have nothing she’s been nothing short of negligent by not passing another aid package all of that comes as we got to the cold weather months when people are more likely to gather indoors get this get together with friends and family in settings that we once thought of as saying right now nationally no that’s not the case so after months of maintaining one of the lowest covert nineteen transmission rates in the country name like every other state in the nation has seen a marked increase in cases the hospital is rates over the last month for example yesterday we reported two hundred forty six new cases of coal with nineteen and twenty four that is to say every six minutes another person was diagnosed with COPD in every six minutes in the state of Maine new diagnoses of common nineteen community transmission is occurring in every part of the state every every county every region increasing the risk of even the smallest gatherings of any sort indoors especially when many people in our state of deeply concerned about this alarming increases specials as we head into the holiday season we know what we must do to stop the spread we know the three W’s wearing a face covering indoors and outdoors washing our hands frequently watching our distance thing six feet apart these are all proven ways to lower the code nineteen I was reading the paper this morning West Virginia’s Corcoran corona task force coordinator said what we believe we have a vaccine in our hands today as call masks and visible distance sitting each of us need to take those steps now to protect ourselves and others we can control this virus once again returning to normal sometime next year hopefully hopefully requires us to survive the holidays this year and next week in the coming weeks will be a crucial test for all of us reconnecting with family and friends rather share table to express gratitude for the gifts we’ve been giving well that’s at

the heart of thanksgiving of course was also one of the riskiest things we can do right now for our health and the health and safety of loved ones friends families our communities look I got three brothers a sister five dollars five grandchildren of whom I would love to get to with over the holidays and dear friends I look forward to seeing but I don’t want covered nineteen to be the owner of by the guests at our table in our the upcoming holidays some of my family will be hunting some of the hiking somebody be skating so we’ll be taking part in small safety distance get togethers some outdoors in writing other sometimes enjoying virtually will be the same as getting together in person but it will allow us each to see each other while making sure we’re all safe and that’s what’s most important right now so as you make your own plans for thanksgiving please consider whether any in person gatherings at all this not just fun comforting N. or in traditional or whether it’s necessary in this time this year and if you think it is absolutely necessary I can you make it safer by wearing face coverings washing hands frequently watching Justin’s being outside ventilating into work in your space even outside of the holiday though many people need to ask themselves do I have to take this trip if the answer is honestly no don’t do it don’t take the risk it’s easy to think you know I’ll just go to the store pick something up one more thing I’ll just go to my favorite restaurant and hang out with friends for one evening I mean Saturday right what this virus doesn’t take Saturdays off it doesn’t take autumn and winter off and it won’t take thanksgiving off I think every time you didn’t want to do something go somewhere that you ordinance that you used to doing and going to do I really have to go out right now do I really have to go there do I really need to buy that one item at the grocery store the drug store that right now or can I make a list for later on in the week and or or things to be picked up curbside or something to be delivered perhaps just because the store is open for business and they are doesn’t mean you have to go there in person when you take a chance we’re going to restore wearing mask PP distance even going out in public in general when you take a chance you’re taking a chance with someone else’s life with someone else as being with someone else’s liberty not just your own think about the home health care aide think about the emergency room nurse think about the ed tech the teacher the school bus driver whose health and well being are at stake every time any of us takes a chance to the skeptics who may hear this message not want to hear this message I want you to know that refusing to follow public health guidance doesn’t hurt me personally not offend me but it hurts the small business owner who support their life savings into their dream and whose dream is barely hanging on it hurts the nursing center a breaking point after caring for seriously ill patients for hours days weeks and months on end it hurts the elementary school kids who doesn’t have internet at home it is struggling to learn it hurts the grandparents in nursing homes were dying that her degree in child think of them when you decide whether or not to wear a mask whether to attend a large gathering with a will remind people to a gathering when you college kid home from school says I want to have friends over I want to my high school classmates think again tell them no tell them no listen to the science these measures were talking about repealing these protect you and everyone else around you our state our country is faced hard times before we’ve had shared sacrifices we continue to have shared sacrifices they continue to be necessary if you love this country if you love the state I ask you wear a mask it’s what true patriots do it’s where main people do so bunker down hunker in buckle up washing hands wear a mask what your distance the only people again if you want to keep our small businesses open you want to prevent our hospitals and health care staff being overwhelmed if you want to keep our kids in school your protect yourself as well as

the people you may never even meet where he amassed wash your hands watch your distance look I know growing tired this is not forever there’s hope at the end of the tunnel there’s a light there but it has to be for now these restrictions these guys will just have to be in place now in order for us to get a grip on this virus as we continue to make progress towards a vaccine remember we can have a healthy economy unless we get healthy people Dr sorry we have to turn things over to you for your briefing your update and then returned pretty questions thank you thank you very much much appreciated all all star by providing an update on where things are and then turn things over to commissioner where bruh and then we’ll of course trying to our colleagues in the media questions I’m going to first start this afternoon’s update on the epidemiologic on public health health health perspective on a series of sad and somber notes Maine CDC has it is saddened to report the deaths of four additional individuals who have passed away with covert nineteen one was a woman in her nineties from Knox County another was a man in his eighties from Kennebec county another was a woman also in her eighties from York County the fourth was a man in his nineties from York County these deaths taken together market a total of one hundred and seventy people now who have lost their lives with covert nineteen in Maine since we first began contending with this pandemic I’d like to take a moment to offer our deepest condolences to the friends families in communities all of these individuals who have passed away with over nineteen may the thoughts and memories of their lives be with all of you forever right now across the state there are a total of nine thousand five hundred and nineteen individuals with code nineteen an increase as governor mills noted of one hundred and fifty six cases from yesterday all of eight thousand five hundred and fifty nine R. confirmed cases and nine hundred and sixty are probable cases I mentioned a moment ago quite sadly one hundred and seventy individuals have passed away with covert nineteen and seven thousand two hundred and twenty nine have recovered an increase of two hundred and nine recovery since yesterday wait six hundred people have been in the hospital and just in the past thirty days alone one hundred and twenty three people up been hospitalized just as concerning is that right now in Maine eighty five people our hospitalized with code nineteen representing an increase of twelve hospitalized Justin’s since yesterday all of those eighty five thirty people in Maine right now are in the intensive care unit with covert nineteen one additional person since yesterday fifty five people are in non intensive care unit beds and ten people are on ventilators representing an increase of two people on ventilators just since yesterday alone just a few days ago may mark the highest number of individuals who are hospitalized since we began working on the pandemic and since that time those numbers have continued to climb steadily upwards any berry concerning trend introductory among our cases are one thousand four hundred and twenty two health care workers as well an increase of twenty three health care workers just since yesterday alone I would once again like to take a second thank the health care workers as well as the health care community writ large for their tireless efforts in continuing to care for our friends family members and loved ones throughout the pandemic turning a moment to somehow break investigations just in the past day and a half Maine CDC has opened six new epidemiological investigations one is that the BMW facility in Westbrook where we are aware of for total cases it also opened an epidemiological investigation into Boden college where we are aware of cases among three students and one staff member also at the mooring on four side we’ve opened an investigation after finding two cases among residents and one case among staff in addition at Berlin city auto where we’ve opened an investigation after finding three cases at Huntington common in

Kennebunk we found four cases among residents as well as for cases among staff members and finally at Paris elementary school where we have detected three cases all among students of that school Maine CDC’s is continuing to work with each and everyone one of these facilities to provide them guidance and assistance on infection control practices support for laboratory testing as well as to ensure that they have the necessary supplies our personal protective equipment as needed we will continue to keep everyone up as we detect more outbreaks situations and our investigations and that I will continue one final note with respect to where we are with testing before I zoom in on the positivity rates and such things I’d like to zoom out overall since we began testing and working on code nineteen way back at the beginning of the year there are now bends over seven hundred and seventy four thousand he C that have been reported electronically to Maine CDC since the beginning of our nineteen activation but the point that I really want to make is that our laboratory here in Augusta has done more than a hundred and fifty thousand of those tests to put that number in perspective that’s more tests than the entire laboratory does anything related to microbiology over the course of an entire year and yet they’ve done that more than that just in the past eight months again they recently surpassed that one hundred and fifty thousand test threshold and I wanted to take a second both to know back but also to take a second to thank the folks who work at the Maine CDC laboratory here in Augusta tireless tireless efforts in ours this is a job that is extremely demanding it’s a job where there is and never ending supply of demands for more testing to be done it’s a dirty job that requires extreme precision coupled with very long hours one of the things that I’ve learned about the staff at the laboratory is that they start their day before most of us have even thought about going to work and at the time when most of us are settling in back at home they’re still at the laboratory running results I’d like to take it second to thank them for their efforts in helping build out our robust testing architecture across the state here’s where we stand with respect to the positivity rate as governor mills mentioned our seven day positivity rate right now and Maine stands at two point six six percent and our testing volume stands at six hundred and forty four PC tests for every hundred thousand people with that I would like to turn things over to commissioner member shock department of health and Human Services is announcing that it will provide additional financial support to nursing facilities for periodic could in testing of their staff three main Kerr the department will help to reimburse nursing facilities for their cost to conduct this surveillance testing using commercial laboratories this investment of an estimated eight million dollars in state and federal funds over the coming months will help protect residents and staff from the silence spread of this deadly disease we are also announcing that all nursing facilities in Maine now I have access to connect to care jobs a portal where facilities can connect with qualified job applicants interesting job applicants are encouraged to visit connect to care job dot com this portal offers at no charge is offered at no charge to job seekers we expect to expand the portal to additional long term care sites in the near providing expanded support for nursing facilities during the searching seven nineteen in Maine is critical to help hardworking frontline workers care for themselves and for the residents of nursing homes additionally university a man and a child is becoming the main department of health and Human Services newest Robinson it will provide free code nineteen test the people who think the near test regardless of symptoms and without a need for a referral from a health care provider yes he will be available starting Monday November twenty third and will continue at a much higher as campus Lisa week of January twenty fifth twenty twenty one twenty twenty one when in person instruction resumes across the university of Maine system the campus based testing center will have the capacity to conduct an average of a hundred and fifty test per week and will

send specimens to the state health and environmental testing laboratory in Augusta appointments are required card and maybe made beginning tomorrow additional information on will be available later today on the key name healthy website that’ll turn it back over to doctor shop exclusionary group there is one other thing that I want to mention before we turn over to our colleagues in the media and that is one of the ships that we’ve started to see epidemiologic wait with respect to individuals with who who have been exposed to somebody who has covered nineteen let me explain as we go into the winter months well governor mills noted with respect to the surge in Kobe in nineteen cases happening is here but there is by product winter that’s also happening at the same time as increasing Kobe nineteen cases and that’s one were used to every single year which is that more and more people are getting the cold or the flu here in Maine Webber retirees across the state are increasing there are reporting to us increasing number of cases of a rhino virus right in every day virus that causes what you and I know to be the common cold now what started happening in the reason I’m mentioning this today is one of the things that we have to in the past few days may be over the past week is that in increasing number of individuals who have been exposed to somebody who have coded nineteen are starting to develop symptoms and when our case investigators start working with those individuals to invest the case of someone who’s been exposed to another person that code nineteen we work with them to arrange for testing and because the common cold is becoming more common a lot of people who are in that category where they’ve been exposed to somebody and start developing symptoms are coming back not with Kobe nineteen but with the cold rhino virus this is a function of the fact that again in winter months in colder months the cold that we all know about is it is more frequent that’s a change from what we were seeing in the summer where and when having a respiratory disease was a bit of a rare thing back in the summer if you were exposed to somebody with coke at nineteen and then you started developing a cough or a there is a pretty good chance that what you have discovered nineteen but now with more and more people getting the cold or starting to get the flu we have to figure out epidemiologic wait what it means when someone when it was exposed to somebody with covert nineteen but now might just irrespective in independent of that have the flu or have a cold why am I mentioning any of this well one of the reasons is that when we investigate cases of Kobe in nineteen we’ve got to make sure we are focusing our resources on those individuals who are the most likely to have coded given the increased rates of things like the flu we’re trying to figure out what that means for our investigation process and what that tells us about the changing epidemiology of all viruses we’re evaluating that right now and our team about the is making sure we’ve sorted through the data and are seeing it clearly what this means for you directly right now is that if you’ve got symptoms that could be coded nineteen cough fever shortness of breath it is more important than ever thank you take advantage of one of the various testing resources that are increasingly available throughout the state commissioner where bruh just mention one that will soon be online in the giants getting tested helps us figure out whether you’ve got coded nineteen or whether you might have something else it as we go into the winter months with more people adding a car having a fever getting tested is more important than ever because that allows us at the main CDC to focus our resources our very vital public health resources on those individuals who are confirmed to have code nineteen as opposed to those who might just have the coal we’re a value waiting this right now and I’ll have more updates on that soon so with that I’d like to turn things over to the media colleagues and the first question today goes to Allison Ross hi doctor had actually had been perfectly with my first question get your question today the

first is for commissioner Lambro so we had heard reports that people unable to actually find a cat thing right all appointment date they were booked so I checked and get the few hours go up from the main piece but the website every location unless you wanted to go to college or Bangor what book and I couldn’t find a single up on that site we’ve also heard reports that places like convenient M. D actually having you would turn people away because that they are just over running up with people needing to get tested before the holidays are you looking at it even more testing site and we’re just added and also is it too late because we’re also hearing that the turnaround time is now four to six days sure we’re always looking to expand testing capacity we had pulled ours squads and states are state sponsored sites that are online we’re hoping to announce more testing opportunities by the end of the week he also continue to have acted could get tested get cove in tested should double check their website some of our national sites will show where you can get a test without a provider referral they’re not necessarily state sponsored test there may be a charge for those sites but there are other sites in Maine offering cove in nineteen testing we do remain at the top or second to top in the nation in terms of our testing capacity for our targeted need so we do have more testing than not well we appreciate the fact that especially with thanksgiving coming it may be harder to find a test keep looking people do cancel appointments we will continue our efforts to expand sites and will hopefully have more news in great thank you and then my second question here is just for governor Mel governor are you considering at state wide lockdown down like some other cities that working across the country statewide lockdown I’m not sure what you what you described but no it wasn’t locked down another was like going back to work stayed home water we got a lot of other things were not a state wide walk and as such now right thank you thank you thanks Allison I’m gonna turn over to Steve bets next I doctor shot I just want to check and see if there’s any update on the outbreak investigation at northeast east mobile health services and walk walk at this time no and no update there it remains that for confirm cases at this time okay that’s it thank you thanks Steve I’m gonna go over each at the BDN next thank you Dr Shah I have two questions today so the first one is about schools even though schools don’t seem to be super spreaders as you said we’re seeing more school based outbreaks due to community transmission are you considering recommending that school skill back in person learning postings thanksgiving or perhaps post of the winter holiday like colleges are doing if you show all started then I certainly invite others to weigh in can’t speculate as to where we what what things might look like after thanksgiving or anything like that email article terms that’s eons away we’ve got to focus on the data that we’ve got right now in front of us based on what we’ve seen right now although there have been increasing numbers of cases and indeed even outbreaks and schools the outbreak is really just an investigation to determine whether there has been transmission and outbreak is simply just a signal that we’ve detected at least three cases that appear to be linked in space or in time across different households and that’s a signal for us to start peeling back the onion to determine whether there could have or was any transmission of thus far we haven’t detected transmission in schools in large numbers I want to be clear that doesn’t mean we won’t or that we can’t that remains a risk but our goal right now it remains to be taken continue to work with schools to amplify and double down on the measures that have gotten us here thus far mask wearing plexi glass distancing within the classrooms staggered schedules the things that we know have brought us here right now are the things that I think we need to focus on going forward thank you my second question is a lot probably for governmental in the absence you just said that you’re not thinking of going back to the lock down so in that in the absence full October you considering putting back any of the restrictions like some of the older governors are doing like reducing gathering limits or closing certain kinds of businesses we’re discussing a lot of

options thank you sure you know one of the differences between this season versus last spring is last spring we had federal and state on benefits expanded the lead before they went home our expanded unemployment benefits and the fifth in the federal government to Congress expanded them Congress set out stimulus packages over there early summer in late spring we we had some money to help small businesses and people get through a very tough when things were kind of shut down and the PPP program was in place to help businesses keep people on payroll well that’s gone by the boards hello that’s a huge difference and that’s why we continue to say and as a group of bipartisan national governors association continues to sell please the United States Senate the current United States Senate the current administration Washington passed a stimulus package now because if we have to take some of the measures that will impact the economy there’s no safety net provided for by the U. S. Congress and administration no fallback no help to be for us to get out give state local governments and businesses of all sorts who in and out of the lose market share and lose our revenues and income and people think about the people right now who is benefits are about to run out it’s very disturbing we know that we have a condom is review of things that the people most hurt by this pandemic right now a relatively low wage workers mostly in the service industry who are became unemployed became furloughed and then unemployed whose extended out benefits are about to run out and there’s no safety net for them to Congress needs to act this isn’t about me or any other individual governor taking the measures that are appropriate for your state but that state to protect the public health and safety in lives of people it’s about Congress and administration becoming a partner and helping us get through this pandemic so just to clarify in the absence of a federal safety net you can’t put into place some restrictions that might actually help with the search container that’s not what I said I mean it was originally asked about shut downs or walk down so so to speak which I don’t think we ever called but we could do the things we did back in the spring because we had help from the federal government in good part not just because we had to do it because we also had help from the federal government help is not there right now it would be even tougher to take those kinds of dramatic measures sure that we are talking about a number of measured approaches to somehow reducing date the gatherings in ordinarily are inevitable over the holidays we’re talking to stores retailers and business people in restaurants and all kinds of folks where one would ordinarily see gatherings in the coming weeks and asking them for their advice in import and we know that the be college students coming home from college you’ll be inevitable inevitable instinct to get together with your high school friends and with other people and we just we don’t want them to happen we don’t want it to happen so we’re asking for the help and advice of many people and businesses may be affected by any further restrictions to just do our part everybody do their part in keeping each other safe and healthy and alive turn it over to Bob Evans at new center good afternoon doctor Shaw are you had mentioned healthcare workers earlier it’s been talk about hospital beds and our preparedness for a surgeon patients that require them but you also talked about staff that is required for good medical care how do we addressing potential shortages with medical staff whether it’s an increase in patients or if the healthcare workers themselves get sick yeah Bob can answer that because we have been in regular contact with our since the spring about how do we prepare for a surge we feel as though we have it this moment again everything could change sufficient beds I beds ventilators we are very focused on this issue of staff and one of the lessons we’ve learned is that going back to an

earlier question one of the best ways we can prepare our hospitals and supporter our hospitals is to keep it safe for kids to be in childcare kids to be in school because in the spring when both were unlimited in terms of in person learning and childcare settings it was a lot harder for hospitals to get their staff in in the hospitals to care for people so as a governor said we’re trying to be very targeted and focused on what we’re doing and one of the best things we can do to make sure that our hospitals and health care are prepared to deal for a surge in in patient care and intensive care is to do what it takes to keep our our child schools open okay and doctor shot are you mentioned the lab also we were told today that the CDC lab is over with tasks and is now taking three to five days to get results one is that true and if so how useful is casting if it does take that long sure bottom I’m glad you I’m glad you raised that we’ve actually commissioner a member and I had a meeting with the lab this morning to go over where they are and what the turn around time is as of right now the turn around time for specimens that come into the U the CDC lab is it sounds your precise but it’s point nine six days so it’s about a day between the time the last specimen comes in and the time that it’s reported out no that’s what’s under our control at the Maine CDC laboratory but there is a lot of other steps that go into somebody getting their test results back there is this specimen itself has to be transported to the main CDC laboratory back in at a day that’s not something sadly that’s within our control that it can also take time for the provider who ordered the test to report the results back out to the patient also something that’s harder for us to get control over what we’ve focused on is making sure that our operations with in the laboratory R. as efficient and responsive as possible and in that regard our turn around stands at approximately one day sometimes there are now two to your other question Bob we are getting in and in increasing amount of specimens some days or some weeks over two thousand per day are coming in so although we are able to keep up that turn around time it is a challenge our our lab staff are working almost around the clock to recession log samples to run samples and to report out those results it is most definitely a challenge I don’t know that I would say there are over not that I won’t characterize it that way what I will say is that they are exceeding busy and I am so thankful that they are on the job yeah may I ask one quick follow up and that is has there been any discussion with the swap and sand testing sites to be should shift some of those cast to some other locations just to lessen the load at your lab how is the question that we didn’t know we we we continue to support Robinson’s throughout the state of Maine two insure that people in Maine can have a sample collected and tested here at our sea law well we have done little is earlier when we did not have the volume of cases that we have now we did open our lab to the surveillance testing that’s required of all nursing facilities for their staff so we were testing many of those nursing facilities regular testing at our C. lab we change that to make sure that we could continue to process samples coming in a timely way that’s why today we announced we’re gonna support them use commercial labs so we can ensure that our state lab we have capacity and Bob I I don’t think I was it was clear or transparent enough a moment ago so let me let me make sure I’m doing so here the one day turn around time that I mentioned is the time from when a specimen has been entered into our tronic system at a time that the result is reported back out it can take in addition to that one day four six seven hours for the specimen to go through that entry process our process that is called in the technical bingo session so we always have strived to keep our turnaround time the moment the sample shows up on our front door it is time to get reported to the provider at less than forty eight hours but that one day does not reflect that time it may take a Cork to enter it into our system and that can be proper have to happen day thank you

I’m gonna turn over to Evan pop next doctor shot thank you someone to follow up on the conversation about benefits programs and governor Mel did mention that Congress needs to act to protect unemployment benefits rental protections in the help state and local governments well I was just wondering you know it’s certainly possible that Congress might not come to a deal by the end of the year when many of those programs expire and what would the state do than to protect people in terms of rental protections unemployment benefits and other relief measures for those most at risk of falling through the cracks sorry I’m sorry to say there isn’t much each state can do we have to have a balanced budget we don’t have a surplus of play with to to and that we are we are still doing rental assistance and I would encourage people to go online with main housing a little local cap agency to apply for rental assistance if they still needed or even a re emerges that are do we can we can still address that between now and December thirtieth you’re a few things we can do between now and December thirty we can’t alone X. down the already extended unemployment benefits we can’t alone increased federal and intended help alleviate hunger food insecurity housing security it cetera and incomes we we just we can’t do that as a state we’ve done everything we could we’re just about done everything we could with the shared the crown of coronavirus relief funds that’s almost at an end so I was really needs to act I can I’m very concerned about the learnings gap in the earnings gap students still not having access to remote learning and earnings gap between the lowest paid workers who were still unemployed and can’t get work or can’t get childcare to be able to get to work those are those concerns I share with you it and then just another question for you so the doctor had cheated because because called for more of the national strategy to deal with covered nineteen and I know that you know your preview is is man and all the countries the whole but I’m wondering if you would support and more national unified strategy between states for for combat for combating the pandemic and if so what you think you know that kind of strategy might look like well I’m not gonna tell doctor coach with the national strategy should be but there should be one that hasn’t been one we’ve had among the White House because on one again the other day with the vice president we keep talking about whole of America but it’s not all of America it’s your own your own basically and and that’s happened so many times in the last eight months it’s unbelievable it’s appalling that there is not a national strategy your code nineteen it’s kind of piecemeal we can’t just count on one or more vaccines being made available within the land the next maybe six months maybe two months we don’t know we can’t hold our breath until then the national government government needs to have a unified message about how to deal with code nineteen and that has to include as the national CDC has said they said masking and keeping distances and taking hygiene precautions in those kinds of things right there isn’t a national strategy for thanks for testing it’s been pretty piecemeal those kind of things look our our contract with idexx was a game changer changer in the state of Maine it was huge for the state of Maine hello thank gene gene everywhere and doctor shot and and others for implementing that back in may I don’t know where we would be today if we hadn’t done that we couldn’t have relied on the federal government to do what the idex contract did the people the statement just one example of where the national policy has been lacking thank you we’re gonna turn it over to Taylor at WGME hi thank you two questions today the first one probably be best for either you talk to shower for Mr labor but related to wait times that we were having a conversation earlier chest we also we’re hearing from different sites that different locations are seeing a week to two weeks for that long wait in your guys opinion do you think this is an issue due to resources or space and just what exactly can the state due to address some of these wait times sorry I want to just could you clarify this is your hearing this from swab and sensations we’re hearing this from testing sites such as the one of the jet port as well as the Westbrook

EMS where they say at least five days at the jet port you can’t sign up for one for two weeks the next available date is eleven twenty eight so trust those types of sites where you can try and get those free tests sure we we’re a regular communication with the state supported sites and we also know that many of the other sites are seeing an increase in demand part of it is the thanksgiving holiday harder than is the end of end of the fall semester for a lot of higher education facility either six Irish cation of colleges and universities many times people are testing not just when they leave where they’re going to college you university or community college where they go to sell we do appreciate that there has been an increase in demand we just urge people to go to that site get tested for the nineteen dock work to look at options often times when you look at one moment you may look book that people do change and cancel we also continue to urge these sites to expand our capacity to deal with the man but do you shop around you can when you look fine takes a different places I will have those openings can we from our end we’ll continue to look to see what we can do to expand access to make sure there’s not that kind of Long Beach the time for appointments thank you and then the next question is are probably production our even for governor mills but it is main planning to train any firefighters EMS paramedics to become certified Kobe nineteen back standards of course once vaccines actually start yes I can elaborate but the bottom line answer is yes they are part of the force or the team of individuals that we are hoping to work with and tap into their clinical expertise as well as their relationship and linkages with the communities in which they live in Sir to be trusted sources of information as well as vaccination thank you so much I’m gonna turn it over to pennyweight next thanks doctor shot up several states use phone apps that alert people when they’ve been exposed to the crown of that something that you’re exploring to see it as something that could help control the spread of the virus and Maine yep okay I’m I I have been part of those conversations for four months now and we’ve we’ve been actively keeping tabs on how that technology has of it we’ve been studying it we’ve been analyzing it some of the states that have adopted it have a different Bob population composition as does main places where you are more likely to just interact with and spend time next to a stranger or prolonged periods of time dense urban areas like Massachusetts Washington DC Los Angeles that’s not so much the case in Maine or for that the cell phone data that that we’ve looked at that is publicly available cell phone data that is not collected by us but by the cell phone companies just to be sure it suggests that most folks in Maine and to be around the same clusters of folks that be like we that being said exposure notification as it’s called is another interesting option out there as we’re thinking about different tools we haven’t made a final decision we’re very well aware of the technology but I think we’ve also got to keep in mind how the places that have adopted it may differ in material respects remain in in light of that whether exposure notification is the first thing we should tackle this week or whether it’s something that may not have the same utility as some of the other things we’ve been talking about that’s really the discussion right now okay great I’m and I’ve got a question about nursing homes how are they doing compared to the early stages of the pandemic I know that they’re is still an area of concern and always will be but art is could being controlled a little bit better in those settings Patty it’s it’s difficult to characterize it what we did we we can try to get numbers which I think sort of tell the story perhaps with more granular detail I I we’ve been working very closely and continue to with our counterparts at Weiss insurance certification as well as that moves to make sure that nursing homes have what they need I think what’s happened is that as the prevalence of COPD at has increased the likelihood that it could be introduced into a nursing home has gone up commensurately but what’s also changed from earlier in the pandemic is a much finer awareness of infection control practices they need for assisted US coverings within facilities things of that nature so they’ve both increased in concert compliance and face coverings and the availability of PP and the understanding of

infection control practices are are quite great high right now but the virus is also just more prevalent now and so what we’re seeing is the confluence of both of those things commissioner I’m eager to get your thoughts on this chair and so since the spring we implemented emergency rules for nursing facilities we have implemented proposals for infection control for group homes we had thanks to the governor invested a million dollars and concert consultation do you have in infection control teach people in the sites that offer have medical directors on in some of the smaller group homes how to do it so we have had a hello effort to ensure that that nursing facilities as well as other congregate living facilities had the tools they need again when there’s community grad nursing facilities and group homes are not immune but I think in one of the oldest state in the nation and the fact that we have the third lowest nursing facility per capita on infection rate recovery nineteen is a testament to the hard work that our nursing facilities R. C. Anne’s are our frontline workers had made as well as our teams here at the department in supporting those nursing facilities thank you I’m gonna turn it over to Brian sold in a W. A. B. I. thank you doctor shot I was a question about how the CDC finds out about the case is outbreaks and more specifically is the responsibility of public entities like a school or a business or nonprofit to report it to the main CDC that there are cases at their location or is something that you find out more or through contact Tracy we we find out about the situations in every which different we start by just kind of making a perhaps abstracted important point Brian breaks are not things they they are not abstract ideas they are people they are clusters of people who are connected in some manner that all happen to have the same disease in this case code nineteen and so the way we find out about the situations it is manifold in some cases it may be that an institution or an educational facility itself has been alerted by three individuals within their four walls that they’ve all got coded nineteen in which case they notify us in other instances our case investigators who meet on a frequent basis to compare notes may say yeah I’ve got two cases there and so do I and so why and that’s sometimes can be how we piece that together so it happens in different ways there’s not a singular outweigh up but with respect to schools we have a very good relationship with the department of education who has a dedicated school liaison who themself is involved with schools to learn about what’s going on so that way there’s not this needs to scramble the call the right person at the Maine CDC schools know that they can where DO we and that there is a good and open line of communication between main CDC in the department of education or maybe it’s a question for Mr labor then I guess is it a requirement for non schools to report if they do have corona virus or more than three cases this is a requirement for a lab or a provider who gets a positive test we actually require negative test reporter as well when possible so the obligation under kind of longstanding public health law is on the provider of the test we do encourage employers encourage schools encourage all different actors when they have some pattern of workers or people in their settings to reported but the obligation is on the provider the text okay and just for anybody who wants China and we’re two weeks removed from the increased restrictions is there any sign that perhaps things are going in a positive direction sense you know the day after election day you know we’d like to report these things in two week cycles any positive signs here Brian it it certainly it’s difficult to talk about positive signs on a day when four people have died to be completely candid with you there are does it have any rate has shown a little bit it’s a dead end so not as quickly as it was a week ago it it’s it’s still increasing it may have cost for a day but the overall trend is still upward testing volume continues to be at a good plateau high plateau that’s a good thing but to be completely straight with you on a day when a record number of people are in the hospital a record number of people are in the I see you and

for died the topic so when you struggle to find something good to say what does that tell you that we are two weeks to remain removed from ma increased restrictions I don’t really know that we can say one way or the other there are so many factors at play right now I don’t know that I could draw a straight line between November fourth and November eighteenth with any scientific validity or integrity okay thank you let me just chime in to say that our numbers are nearly as bad as certain states that didn’t impose restrictions not nearly as bad for instance as South Dakota and you see other states taking some of the same measures read the news in the Washington Post this morning Republican governors like the wind Herbert of Utah Bergman North Dakota rentals violent Baker of course but Massachusetts and Jim in West Virginia they’re all taking a lot of measures that some of which we took months ago because their numbers are off the charts even worse than ours I’m gonna turn it over to Amy brown next thanks Arti Shah can you give an out an update on the outbreak at Maine correctional center and Windham and also regarding that a listener notice that there is a spike in cases in Windham and asked us to check and see if when inmates are recorded in the CDC’s numbers if they’re recorded by their home town or by the town that the jail is located in sharks are right now at the main correctional center where aware of a total of a hundred and forty eight G. cases but given that that outbreak has been ongoing for a while I think it’s also important to note just sort of where things are with respect another to the number of active cases as of right now there are three staff members who remain in isolation because their case status is active and thirty one of the rest who are main in active status so that’s where we are right now with respect to the addresses we’ll check to see how we can DO see characterize those Amy and make sure we get back to you thank you and the according to your website there are ninety three I see currently available given that we went from like close to zero to thirty I see being occupied the space of two weeks at what point will you start opening hat looking at having to open alternative I see you sure so the up or I’ll go head to assure you need continue to assess what additional beds we can make available because obviously a bed in a hospital as far preferable to an alternative care sites so we are in a continual overview of what our options are to try to see how we can identify additional inpatient beds before we have to go to the triggers faltered of care sites that said you know we we do have some room we have a little bit of time but we’re making use of that little bit of time to try to get that is there’s no magic number though okay thanks I’m gonna turn it over to Joe Lawlor next hi yes hi this question is for governor bills I’m considering the the height you know levels of exponential growth and then you were just talking about that you’re considering other measures how close are you to make in decision on these other measures are we talking about that might be at decision prior to thanksgiving or after and I’m curious what you think about what you’re talking about you know maybe try to curtail some party I know Massachusetts did a curfew on businesses after ten PM I think one of the reasons is to try to prevent large massless job parties that businesses thank you you know they actually impose a curfew on people not just not just business closings earlier business closings is something we’re talking about all my many other things curfews or something they’ve they’ve adopted in several states and I’m not sure what you were looking to see what the effectiveness of that is I’m not sure that that some of the most effective use of of the most effective measure but gathering limits capacity limits in businesses of all sorts of something that’s always being taught we’re always talking about business hours and I’ve been talking with business leaders to get their ideas as well one of the things they’ve expressed to me is that

their ability to enforce the mask mandate is not always clear and I would be real clear we will issue some better guidance so more bright line guidance I think what I want is I want them to know what I have told them that my him my do they have every right for instance to exclude somebody from any public facing is still your business refuses to wear a mask for whatever reason or becoming to take the mask off the candy be excluded denied service or excluded from the debt facility that could be worst case scenario charges of trespassing we officers and even though those are there rights and those are what they’re able to do now it’s not always clear they have that ability but I want to make that clear we’ll be talking about that in the coming days okay thank you I just have a very quick follow up question considering you’re mentioning on other states the the the the the covert great is is higher than Maine and I wonder what you think about Mainers traveling to Massachusetts or other states with even New Hampshire now is much higher prevalence do other states for thanksgiving you are you’re advising them not to do that we were giving the same advice of we have our travel advisory in our travel restrictions terms of requiring a test in order fourteen day quarantine you’ve heard today from others that many people seem to be having a problem getting test in a timely fashion getting results in a timely fashion that’s probably because of the upcoming in part because the upcoming holiday season and people wanting to travel but if you don’t really have to go there don’t go there that’s that’s the bottom line we know the people are people have a lot of the general reasons to be traveling to be going back and forth to Massachusetts residents to medical facilities in Boston or whatnot and I’m not faulting them whatsoever but you don’t absolutely have to go don’t go that’s my advice the less traveled the less exposure to other people you’re stopping for gas stopping for coffee stopping for whatever or seeing other people going this is going to visit family it’s a different bubble than what you’re used to it’s a different cohort a different group of people and the virus doesn’t care for your loved ones if there were your long lost honor her uncle was just doesn’t care and you don’t want to be the one to expose them you don’t want to be exposed by them to this gentleman virus can I just add that a negative test is a snapshot it is not a free pass to enjoy thanksgiving without physical distancing without these asking we do urge people to remember that it is just a snapshot and they get a test could be negative one day but because of this virus you could be exposed or isn’t it you could develop the disease later so we do urge people well testing is one tool it’s not the only tool have a seat thanksgiving jobs are just round it out with with two quick observations the first is we’ve we’ve thought about the concerns and the risks around thanksgiving for some time and in recent the recent week we now have a little bit of data out from our colleagues to the north who celebrated their thanksgiving on October twelfth and sadly about two weeks after that they started experiencing a significant increase in cases all across Canada related you Canadian thanksgiving celebrations so I can’t thanksgiving and remains a concern the other thing I before I turn it over to Patrick around us out I’m just in connection with bright wood Brian Sullivan asking moment ago although it is difficult to draw a straight line between the restrictions recently there are good data that are published in the literature to suggest that the steps that were taken do you have an impact these are data that come from a study in Kansas at the county level one mask wearing white papers that the CDC published around the experience in Arizona and Delaware that suggests that lowering gathering limits have been impact to say nothing of more recent evidence from Belgium from Ireland and France which also instituted similar measures and started to see a plateauing and at least in France a downturn in the number of cases right it’s still a bit too early to tell whether that’s what’s going on here or whether those measures most directly operated a worsening but there is good and solid scientific reason that that those measures were in the right direction and around us out for the afternoon gonna turn it over to Patrick okay thank you very much to two things I would love to get some some feedback from any or all of you about the name mariners decision to cancel their season which I’m assuming you probably all think

it’s prudent and also on the on the subject of flu of flu season some some states have been reporting a sort of slow season so far and I’m curious if we have any idea what our own looks like as of now and also do we have the possibility for a sort of slower than typical flu season because of masks and social distancing and staying home and and other things that so many people are doing because of coronavirus I can start with that one real quick Patrick the the data around influenza are on our website I weep we published a report every single Tuesday and have throughout the pandemic during flu season not the summer but during flu season we haven’t missed a Tuesday not Wednesday if you Google Maine CDC influenza you’ll see them and they go back decades and we publish our exactly where we are every single week with respect flu activity we went to the address bar has been tracking large we were it last year but even in a typical year we don’t start seeing an uptick in influenza or another or two weeks or so whether the trends that we saw in the southern hemisphere with lower than expected flu rates could occur up here in the northern hemisphere because of masking and physical distancing it’s a great empirical and scientific question we’ll see what the data show but certainly even aside from the flu is turning to the common cold laboratories in Maine have started saying to us we’re seeing a lot of rhino virus that’s the virus that causes the common cold and when we think about probable cases of cobit nineteen someone who is exposed and now has symptoms we’ve got to make a tough we’ve got to answer a difficult question of whether we think that might be the flu or a cold or whether it might be coping so that’s where that’s going but I urge you to take a look at all those who reports we’ve got an epidemiologist who is doing to full time jobs one is a full time in for and the other as as a full time Kobe deputy me allergist and this epidemiologist she is not missed a beat so I just want to take up that question as to the mariners all the others answer hello again I am a long time the mariners fans so like many fans are disappointed to hear the news it was not something that the state was involved with but also disappointed that the beach to begin run the castle this summer and the fall football season got canceled for colleges and high schools in Maine we recognize that it is very hard to win some of the activities that many of us enjoy have to be suspended due to cut in all that said the cracked the work they were doing does maintain other activities like keeping schools open like keeping our stores open like hopefully be able to enjoy your holidays in the safe ways to we do recognize that many decisions come with great sadness for different people not able to enjoy some of the activities that we all love but that is hopefully a small price to pay to soon be on a pathway towards a vaccine and towards a return to normal thanks Patrick governor mills just fell just add to that last one you know I said before each of us needs to take all the steps in getting back to normal whether it’s going to hockey games or graduations having weddings having family dinners having parties neighborhood parties going out to restaurants in groups we’ve got to resist those temptations because getting back to normal is not going to have happen soon in back to where we were a year ago it’s not gonna happen overnight vaccine or no vaccine and each of us needs to take all the steps to protect ourselves and others and returning to normal sometime next year means that we are required to survive the holidays this year that’s the most important thing well I’ll miss going to hockey games too I miss a lot of things we all miss a lot of things it’s gonna be a really difficult holiday season we’re gonna hunker down buckle up it’s going to be a tough tough sledding for the next few months and that was the last question yeah that was it when I was a governor well thank you again all of you those listening I know that you’re taking this all very seriously and that’s why you’re listening to the news greetings and I want you to keep remember at aspen keep remembering one thousand four hundred and twenty two health care workers who’ve been diagnosed with COPD nineteen during this pandemic one thousand four hundred and twenty two and additional twenty three just the last twenty four hours one in our most so you know and I want to give kudos to the to the callous second Baptist church and pastor Burton was recognized what’s happened in his community and is taking steps and messaging

appropriately I think his parishioners about taking precautions into those who believe that they have an absolute god given right not to wear a mask I will quote one of my Republican colleagues colleagues the Republican governor of Vermont I’m sad the number of people in hospitals is growing because some care more about what they want to do rather than what they need to do to help protect others the consequences of it overwhelmed healthcare system will have a far greater impact on our economy and wealthier than all the prevention and mitigation measures the skeptics are right they can do what they want to please he said please don’t call it patriotic or pretend it’s about freedom real patriots he said service sacrifice for all whether they agree with the or not stand up and fight when our nation’s health and security is threatened and right now our country and our way of life are being attacked by this virus not by the projections we put in place I’ll just leave with that message thank you very much thank you very much everyone

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