Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah said in today's coronavirus briefing that Maine's positivity rate for tests of COVID-19 is "headed in the right direction."

Last week the positivity rate in Maine was just under 6%. With today's numbers, the overall positivity rate is down to 5.4%.

"We still have a fair amount of road ahead of us with respect to getting that positivity rate down." Shah said. "But just in the past week, we've driven it down, in statistical terms, by 10 percent."

Today's report shows that the total number of cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Maine is now at 1,819, an increase of 78 since Tuesday, the highest single day increase which is attributed to the increase in testing. That number should continue to increase as the number of tests conducted increases. 1,632 of those cases are confirmed while 187 are deemed probable.

1,110 people diagnosed with COIVD-19 have recovered, an increase of 22.

No new deaths were reported keeping the total number to 73.

The total number of active cases is 636, a increase of 56.

231 patients have had to be hospitalized at some point. 43 are currently hospitalized with 24 of those in critical care and 12 patients on ventilators.

A new statistic that is now being reported by the Maine CDC is the number of tests for COVID-19 that have been performed. This will replace the stat of how many individuals have been tested. That weekly reported cumulative number of tests that have been performed is 40,609. That number is updated each Wednesday.

Governor Janet Mills extended Maine's State of Emergency to June 11 allowing the state government to use resources to protect the health and safety of Mainers and to continue to receive Federal resources. The extension does not affect the timing of the phased Stay Safer at Home Order is currently in effect through May 31.

Phase 1 of Maine's four phase plan to reopen the state continues the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people. People who are able to work from home should continue to do so, and people should wear cloth face coverings in public settings where physical distancing measures are hard to maintain.

If the Maine CDC detects any resurgence of the virus, the state will slow down the stages and reinstate restrictions.

On May 8, Governor Janet Mills announced a plan to allow certain businesses to open in designated counties beginning May 11.

The counties affected by the rural reopening plan are Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Somerset, Franklin, Oxford, Kennebec, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc. All of these counties have not had shown evidence of community transmission of COVID-19.

Retail stores in these counties may now open to customers provided they adopt the health and safety precautions that the state is releasing. The precautions include restricting the number of customers in the store at any one time, enhancing cleaning and sanitation practices, and maximizing touch free transactions wherever possible.

Restaurants in these counties may open for outdoor dining and for limited dine-in service providing they adopt health and safety precautions, such as physically distancing customers, making sure employees follow enhanced hygiene and sanitation practices and controlling customer flow by making reservations only whenever possible.

Also beginning Monday May 18, remote campsites and sporting camps may reopen with public safe guards.

The statewide plan to re-open has had some minor adjustments as well. Fitness and exercise centers statewide will now be permitted to open on May 11 for outdoor classes of 10 people or less or for one-on-one personal training instruction inside.

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, including a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, the Maine CDC says you should call your doctor before going in so that they can prepare for your arrival. The Maine CDC continues to update with new information daily. Keep checking on our mobile app or website to get the latest.

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