A Massachusetts man interviewed on a Boston sports radio show Thursday said he’s quarantined with family in Skowhegan, Maine, after visiting the Somerset County town recently and testing positive for coronavirus.
The report, featured on The Greg Hill Show broadcast on WEEI Sports Radio Network, came as state health officials said there were 155 confirmed cases in Maine, which still included none listed for Somerset County.
On the radio program, the Massachusetts man — only identified as Jeff, age 61 — said he was confirmed positive for the COVID-19 illness caused by coronavirus on Sunday morning, after being screened and tested at Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan.
Robert Long, spokesman for the Maine Center for Disease Control, pointed out Thursday that federal rules dictate that confirmed cases should be listed by a person’s primary residence.
“If the man’s primary residence is in another state, he would be listed in that state, even if he was tested and is being cared for in Maine,” Long said by email. “The U.S. CDC has stated that tracking cases by the state of primary residence is the best system to ensure an accurate national count.”
Even so, Long said he also wanted to reiterate what Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has been saying lately at daily press briefings: people in every county of Maine should live their lives as if COVID-19 is in their community.
“The test numbers likely under-represent the number of cases, because – since last week – medical providers have been authorized by U.S. CDC to diagnose COVID-19 based on symptoms, not test results,” Long said. “The best thing that people in every Maine community can do is to abide by the physical distancing guidelines issued last week. Stay home except for essential travel. Limit shopping trips to one per week. Avoid group gatherings.”
On the WEEI radio program, host Greg Hill described Jeff as a friend and asked the man to describe the experience on air. Jeff said he and his family had traveled to Maine the prior weekend to “get away” from coronavirus, and by Wednesday last week he felt like the “hammer dropped” on his lungs. He experienced breathlessness that felt “like drowning” at times.
Jeff said he was tested at Redington-Fairview and confirmed positive Sunday, and has been in quarantine with his son in Skowhegan. He was in touch with state health officials, who have been tracing back all of his movements and interactions in the days since.
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