Maine reduces the backlog of COVID-19 positive tests from nearly 60,000 to 6,000
Maine reduces the backlog of COVID-19 positive tests from nearly 60,000 to 6,000

Maine reduces the backlog of COVID-19 positive tests from nearly 60,000 to 6,000

The backlog of untreated positive COVID-19 tests, which reached nearly 60,000 on top of the omicron wave, has now been reduced to about 6,000 tests.

“With the exception of a significant increase in the number of positive results reported in the coming days, the backlog is likely to be eliminated by the end of this week,” Robert Long, spokesman for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an e-mail. email answers to questions.

Meanwhile, Maine reported 11 deaths and added 1,519 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday as part of efforts to work through the backlog.

The state health agency recently automated part of the screening process to determine which tests represented new cases and which were genetic tests of people who were already infected. Before the system was partially automated in February, the omicron wave overwhelmed the state authority’s ability to process tests in a timely manner.

Since the pandemic began, Maine has reported 222,925 cases of COVID-19 and 1,971 deaths.

Certainly reported over the past week does not reflect current pandemic trends, as other indicatorssuch as hospitalizations, sewage tests, and school outbreaks, show steady declines in the presence of coronavirus causing COVID-19.

Admissions fell from 224 on Tuesday to 211 on Wednesday, a sharp downward trend since peaking at 436 admissions on 13 January.

The decline in societal transmission of the virus has led to a easing of mask mandates in Maine and around the country. Portland, Brunswick, Freeport and Bath have lifted indoor mask mandates, and some states have set dates to remove mask mandates from public schools.

Maine does not have a nationwide mandate for masking in schools, but most districts had followed the state’s recommendation that masks be required.

Some schools in Maine are announcing mask-optional policies, most recently Hermon schools, which set a March 14 date for masks that become optional. RSU 18 in Oakland set a date on Feb. 28 to make masks optional, and other schools, such as Lewiston, are considering mask-optional policies.

Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine CDC director, has said the agency will reconsider the recommendations for school masking next week, following the February break.

This story will be updated.

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