Maine's Coronavirus Death Toll Rises to 17

There are now 586 confirmed cases of COVID-19, spread across all but one county, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention

NBC 5 News

Another Maine resident has died from the novel coronavirus bringing the state's total to 17 on Friday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are now 586 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to the latest numbers released by the Maine CDC. Out of those confirmed cases, 111 patients remain hospitalized and 246 have recovered.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills and CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah gave an update on the state's latest response to the coronavirus pandemic at 2:30 p.m, after Mills ordered state offices closed due to heavy snowfall that's made transportation difficult.

As of Friday, Piscataquis County is the only county in Maine that has not yet had a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Maine's coronavirus statistics are promising, so far, Mills said. The state has the 34th fewest number of coronavirus cases and deaths across the country, judged by population size.

But Mills also noted that the situation can change if residents don't remain vigilant.

"They can get better, these statistics, or they can get worse," she said. "Do your part, stay apart."

A traveling salesperson helped to spread the coronavirus in Maine and several other states early in the outbreak last month, according to Shah.

"This traveling salesperson visited a particular establishment in Maine and had a series of meetings and infected a certain number of individuals, all of whom we traced," Shah said.

The person was linked to infections outside of Maine, as well, Shah said. He declined to release details, citing privacy concerns.

The discovery highlights how the spread of the coronavirus can often be traced to individuals and gatherings.

Health officials have also been concerned with the Tall Pines Retirement and Healthcare Community in Belfast, where 10 residents and three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The facility is receiving protective equipment for staff as well as guidance on testing, Shah said Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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