Update: Initial test results show that no Mainers have tested positive for the coronavirus as of 1 p.m. Tuesday. For the latest coronavirus news, click here.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Monday statement that it expects to have results from an initial round of coronavirus tests on Tuesday after moving testing to a state government lab.
Maine is one of 16 states that has no confirmed cases of the form of coronavirus called COVID-19 that originated in the Chinese province of Wuhan. It has been deemed an emergency by the World Health Organization, which has tallied more than 100,000 cases worldwide.
There have been 423 cases reported in the U.S. with 16 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stock markets plunged on Monday because of a steep drop in oil prices prompted by the virus, which affects the upper respiratory tract and is characterized by cold-like symptoms that can progress to pneumonia.
Until Friday, the Maine CDC relied on a federal laboratory in Atlanta to test samples from patients whose doctors wanted them tested for the coronavirus. On Thursday, the Maine CDC said roughly a dozen samples had been sent to the federal lab for testing. On Monday, it said there no positive tests had come back, though other results are pending.
Tests submitted to the state after Friday were being handled by a state lab in Augusta after the state purchased a new machine to do testing last month. Maine CDC spokesperson Robert Long said the first round of results for in-house tests are expected on Tuesday.
The Maine CDC did not release the number of tests done in-house on Monday, though it said fewer than 100 residents have met criteria for testing that includes a doctor’s recommendation and federal guidelines. Long said he expected to release a more precise number on Tuesday and that changing federal guidelines had made it difficult to tally one.
The state said it will announce any presumptive positive or confirmed case. Tests done at the state level coming back positive will be sent to the federal lab for confirmation. The state lab will be able to process between 100 and 200 tests per day, which far exceeds demand to date.
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