AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Center for Disease Control said Tuesday that it was investigating two more outbreaks at institutions of higher learning.

There have been at least three confirmed cases at the University of New England in Biddeford and Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC.

Coronavirus cases also have been reported at the University of Maine, University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine School of Law.

All told, another 22 people tested positive for the virus, Shah said, bringing the total to 4,548 people. The number of deaths held steady at 132, he said.

In other coronavirus-related news:



Maine health and education officials were unable Tuesday to provide any specific date for issuing final guidance for high school sports.

The Maine Principals Association has come out with its recommendations, but it's awaiting word from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Department of Education.

DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Education Commissioner Pender Makin said they're working with the MPA but declined to commit to a deadline even as students begin returning to class this week.

“We are going to recommend that we put (the decision) off until such time as we have crystal clear guidance for everybody,” Makin said.



Shah threw cold water on reports that COVID-19 not so bad because 94% of patients who died from it had underlying health conditions.

The word spread through social media that U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics showed that only about 6% of COVID-19 deaths have no other factor cited on death certificates.

“No one should be comforted by these numbers whatsoever,” he said.

The data shows that COVID-19 works like all other viruses by opening the door to allowing previous conditions or new conditions to cause cascading problems resulting in death, Shah said.

“I’ve read the reports and read the analyses that suggest COVID-19 may not be as bad as we think. Really, what it means is that it operates in just the same nefarious fashion as do other significant viruses like influenza, like HIV,” he told reporters.