Maine reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday but no additional deaths and 28 more Mainers were listed as recovered.

The most recent outbreak has been reported in Sanford, where the fire department has confirmed three cases. The union representing firefighters urged the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to expedite test results after some members of the department waited more than three days for test results, according to the Sanford Fire Fighters Association. The final 10 results came back negative Monday.

Elsewhere in York County, two additional inmates at the county jail have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to 15, including nine corrections officers. The outbreak was first reported Thursday, after four corrections officers tested positive.

Sheriff William King said all of the inmates are asymptomatic and are being housed in the jail’s medical unit. All inmates must receive a negative test before they are housed in the general population, he said.

A second round of testing will be conducted at the jail Wednesday and Thursday.

The news comes on the heels of an outbreak at a wedding reception in Millinocket, where 53 people connected to the reception have fallen ill with COVID-19. The Big Moose Inn, where the reception was held Aug. 7, has been cited by the Maine CDC for having an indoor gathering with more than 50 people, which is currently prohibited by the state because large indoor crowds are at higher risk of transmission.


Overall, there have been 4,356 cases of COVID-19 in Maine and 131 deaths. There are 463 active cases of the disease.

Dr. Dora Anne Mills, vice president of community health for MaineHealth, the parent company of Maine Medical Center, said in a lengthy facebook post Monday that much work still needs to be done.

“Unlike any other disaster, the science is clear that in a pandemic, it is deadly for people to gather together, with as few exceptions as possible, and only if mitigating strategies can be implemented, such as distancing, masking, keeping the gathering as small and as short as possible, and ventilating or holding the event outdoors,” Mills wrote. “How to build public support for these scientific strategies is a critical dilemma to solve, especially in societies that easily dismiss science and do not have a strong value of sacrificing for the common good.”

Pedestrians cross High Street in downtown Portland. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

But Mills said she was encouraged by the lack of summer camp outbreaks in Maine.

“There were numerous news stories about summer camp outbreaks in Georgia and other states,” Mills wrote. “The good news is that Maine’s overnight youth camps have recently adjourned after a successful summer. They hosted campers and staff from most states in the U.S. as well as a number of other countries. Maine’s guidance required camps to implement all of the known effective strategies. They used a great amount of creativity to implement them, and seemed to have done so very successfully. Although summer camps are not the same as schools, the experience here this summer gives me optimism that we can do the same for schools and other venues.”

Current hospitalizations remained low Monday, with six people hospitalized, five in intensive care and one on a ventilator.

The positivity rate in Maine remained low Monday, with 0.67 percent of all tests coming back positive. The seven-day average of daily positive tests was 0.76 percent. A lower positivity rate gives state health workers a better chance to control outbreaks through tracking down contacts of those who test positive and isolating those who may be contagious.

The national average is 5.4 percent, a decline of about 3 percentage points over the past month.

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