Press Release

February 10, 2020

First Individual in Maine To Be Tested for 2019 Novel Coronavirus

No confirmed cases, risk to public remains low

AUGUSTA – The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) announced today the first instance of an individual in the state being tested for 2019 novel coronavirus.

Maine CDC was made aware of the individual through protocols established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) to limit the spread of coronavirus in the United States. The individual voluntarily agreed to stay home in accordance with U.S. CDC guidelines.

The potential risk to the general public is low. Maine CDC is releasing this information to keep the public informed, as has been the practice of other states. Individuals from 37 other states and U.S. territories have been tested for the 2019 novel coronavirus.

To date, the U.S. CDC has confirmed that 12 individuals have tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus in six states. There are no confirmed cases in Maine. The vast majority of tests in the U.S. have come back negative.

The 2019 novel coronavirus is the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Signs and symptoms include fever and/or cough and difficulty breathing.

The U.S. CDC is currently responsible for all testing for the 2019 novel coronavirus. Test results are typically available within one to five days. Maine CDC will release more information when testing is complete. Maine CDC has informed U.S. CDC in order to facilitate testing.

Maine CDC is in close contact with the individual, who has complied with all recommendations and will remain at home pending test results.

This individual is not associated with the alternative housing provided to some students by Colby College out of an abundance of caution. Maine CDC is not currently releasing further details to protect the person's privacy.

"The risk in Maine remains low," said Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. "This test follows protocols established by the U.S. CDC. At this point, 37 states have sent samples to the U.S. CDC for testing, and the vast majority of those tests have come back negative. Right now, the best thing Maine people can do is to practice good hygiene, stay home if you feel sick, and share your recent travel history with medical providers if you experience fever, cough, or difficulty breathing."

If you have similar symptoms and did not recently travel to China or did not have contact with someone with 2019 novel coronavirus, it is likely to be a cold or the flu.

Maine CDC staff continue to work closely with public health officials from the federal government and other states to minimize the public risk posed by this novel coronavirus. As part of that effort, Maine CDC regularly updates a webpage on the novel coronavirus at: www.maine.gov/dhhs/coronavirus.

Maine CDC staff are also working closely with Maine health care providers, who must report any patients with recent travel to China who become ill with fever or respiratory symptoms within 14 days of travel. This assists with testing and preventing potential spread of illness to others.