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Maine shifts vaccine strategy to focus on older people, high-risk patients, and rescue workers

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Governor Janet Mills said Wednesday that he would move older people in Maine and those with serious health problems who are likely to suffer or die from COVID-19 to a priority list for vaccination.

Her announcement came the same day the state set a new record for daily incidents at 824.

“The goal of all of us through this pandemic is to save lives,” Mills said at a news conference, saying that 85 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Maine to date have been individuals over the age of 70. Stated.

CVS pharmacy experts will prepare residents and staff for the first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday in Kennebunk’s senior living community, Atria. Derek Davis / Staff Photographer

Governor changes to Maine’s vaccine distribution strategy include the transition of public security personnel and COVID responders to Phase 1A. Phase 1A is already underway and includes healthcare professionals and residents, as well as care facility staff. COVID-19 response personnel include those who test production facilities such as Abbott and Idexx, or work in processing laboratories, including the CDC.

Residents over the age of 70 are now part of Phase 1B, including frontline workers such as teachers and grocery workers, starting in February and expected to be completed by April. Phase 1B also includes people with high-risk medical conditions such as asthma and diabetes, but Mills admits that it is difficult to identify these people.

Asked how the state plans to prioritize the various subgroups currently in Phase 1B, Mills said there would be some overlap, but the risk of dying was greatest. He emphasized that high people would be at the forefront.

Approximately 193,000 people in Maine are over 70 years old, but some are eligible for Phase 1A vaccination because they are in long-term care or health care workers.

Mills said the changes announced Wednesday would help target the most vulnerable individuals, but Maine and other states called her “limited, unpredictable, and inadequate.” He also said it was hampered by the supply of vaccines. She urged the Mainers to continue patiently.

“I want to tell everyone the dates on the calendar … I can’t,” she said.

Phase 1C includes other important workers not identified in Phase 1B, and Phase 2 includes people aged 16-64 who were not qualified in the previous phase. These phases are scheduled for this spring and summer.

On Wednesday, Maine was the first to report more than 800 new cases a day. Currently, there are at least 700 cases for 6 days, all after December 22nd.

The average number of cases over 7 days increased to 582, up from 364 last month and 173 two months ago. Since the pandemic arrived in Maine in March, there have been 31,150 confirmed or possible cases. New cases were reported in all counties, with 198 in York County, 168 in Cumberland County, and 100 in Kennebec County.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Maine, said the positive rate of PCR tests in Maine dropped from 5.9% last week to 5.35%. This is because the average daily test volume has increased more than 200 times per 100,000 people.

The death toll has risen to 453, an increase of nearly 200 last month alone. Of these, 386 (85%) were over 70 years of age, but only 13% of all positive cases belonged to that age group. Of the four deaths reported on Wednesday, two were in York County and two in Penobscot County.

Hospitalization increased to 207 on Wednesday, the highest total ever, including 64 for critical care and 23 for ventilator. Since March, at some point 1,201 people have been hospitalized.

“Even if the vaccine is here … we can’t relax our vigilance,” Shah said. “We’ve been on the alert for so long that we know it’s difficult to do.”

Sustainable levels of cases occur when the state moves to the second month of vaccination of the first stage of an individual (healthcare workers, residents, and care facility staff).

According to the CDC, 62,004 vaccines were being given in Maine as of Wednesday, but the numbers are probably high, as the pharmacies hosting nursing home clinics do not need to submit data immediately. Let’s do it. Of these, 8,493 were the second dose. Maine has so far administered 82% of its vaccine supply, minus the doses assigned to retail pharmacy programs that vaccinate residents and staff of care facilities, which is the highest in the state. It is one of the high percentages.

In addition to protecting old Maine citizens, Mills said recent changes to the vaccination program targeted police and firefighters “to ensure the continuity of basic public security services for Maine people.” Said that. She said it not only has the dual benefit of protecting prison officers, but also helps keep the virus away from prisons and prison residents who are not included in the first phase.

As more vaccines grow in Maine in the coming weeks, Shah said the need to create what is called a “community-level vaccination site” will increase. Those discussions are ongoing, but Mills said that if Maine sees more doses in the coming weeks, it will find a way to put them in people’s arms.

Maine is moving residents over the age of 70 to the beginning of the next phase, but Maine Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Jeanne Lambrew has asked individuals in that category to call their doctors to schedule. I warned you to postpone it. She said the state still has details to resolve on how to effectively vaccinate those individuals in large quantities, but more information will be available next week.

The United States has reached the most deadly point of the pandemic ever. According to Johns Hopkins University, a record 4,327 deaths were reported on Tuesday, with more than 380,000 deaths in the United States so far.

The number of COVID-19 cases nationwide is approximately 22.5 million, which is equivalent to approximately 7% of the US population.


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