In yesterday’s Portland Press Herald, I explore why Maine lags the other five New England states in the daily reporting of all sorts of pandemic-related data, including the fact that it is alone in being unable to report the number of negative tests on a daily basis.
The Maine CDC, which was weakened by eight years of disfavor under Gov. Paul LePage, has also been behind in being able to tally the number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized each day, in reporting non-resident cases confirmed here, and in knowing how many ICU beds and ventilators are available.
A reader asked on Twitter why we would poke at an agency that, with the abdication of the federal government, is our lifeline in the pandemic. The answer: you want your lifeline to be as strong as possible before the cases start peaking, and that requires testing it constantly. That’s what we’ll keep doing.
Other recent Coronavirus coverage includes this look at the precarious state of the medical equipment supply chain; the strange story of a Portland based pop-up medical supplier; and the Chebeague ferry service refusing to carry suspected Covod-19 patients, even in the context of being the island’s official ambulance link to the mainland (updating soon.)
[Update, 3/16/20: The Maine CDC revamped their website a bit today, providing more of the information they lacked and other New England states were providing. Negative test reporting still a challenge, but weekly numbers now posted there too.]