The Maine CDC's Dr. Nirav Shah says health officials need to proceed with caution, and not reopen the state too soon.

During Monday's daily press briefing about the latest COVID-19 statistics, the executive director of the Maine CDC was asked his opinion of a rally being held in Augusta. A group of Mainers demonstrated outside the Blaine House, asking the governor to rescind the stay-at-home order and allow businesses to open to customers.

Dr. Shah said we're actually in the middle of the outbreak, rather than nearing the end, as the slowing number of new cases would indicate. He said healthcare officials don't want to jump too quickly into the decision, but are proceeding with caution.

The fear is that, if they reopen the state too quickly, there will be a second bump in confirmed cases. People will become more relaxed and won't be as conscious of social distancing, which helps prevent the virus from spreading.

Shah added he hoped the demonstrators in Augusta were being careful and social distancing because "the virus is out there."

The statistics, as of Monday at noon, showed 875 cases of COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 8 cases from Sunday. One person had died of the illness since Sunday, taking the total deaths to 35. 414 people have recovered from the illness and over 14,000 have tested negative. 212 of the confirmed cases were healthcare workers.

Dr. Shah said he hopes people will be patient, continue to stay at home as much as possible, and practice social distancing. Not only is it being effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it's also reduced the number of people being diagnosed with influenza.

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