Maine CDC Health Advisory
March 9, 2020
Preparing for Community Transmission of COVID-19 in Maine
As of March 9, 2020, U.S. states have reported over 500 cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Widespread sustained transmission has also been reported in China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea. Community spread has been reported in several other countries, including parts of the U.S. (California, Oregon, Washington). Community spread in Washington state led to the first death in the U.S. from COVID-19, the first reported case of COVID-19 in a health care worker, and the first outbreak in a long-term care facility.
Widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the U.S. may occur, including within Maine. Such transmission could mean large numbers of patients needing medical care at the same time, stressing health care providers and hospitals/other health care facilities. Critical systems, including emergency medical services, are likely to be affected, and should plan accordingly. Various degrees of social distancing may be required, which could impact daily activities and disrupt scheduled events.
There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine at this time. Testing for COVID-19 is available at Maine's Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory. Health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19, close contacts of persons with COVID-19, and travelers returning from affected locations where community spread is occurring are at higher risk. The situation is rapidly evolving. For updates on the situation in Maine, visit https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/airborne/coronavirus.shtml
The clinical spectrum of COVID-19 disease is not fully known, but reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe. Available information suggests most patients with COVID-19 have mild illness, with severe illness occurring in only 15-20% of patients. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, dyspnea). Risk factors for serious disease associated with COVID-19 include older age and co-morbidities (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes). No vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is currently available, nor are there FDA-approved medications for treatment of COVID-19.