AUGUSTA – The Cross Insurance Center in Bangor will soon be filled with hospital beds to treat patients in the event of a surge in coronavirus cases.
That was one of the announcements the governor made during Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing.
“On March 12, Maine recorded its very first positive presumptive test,” said Governor Janet Mills.
Now, less than a month later, Maine has 519 confirmed cases, including 12 patients who have died from the illness.
Nearly 100 people have been hospitalized at some point, and more than 175 people have recovered, according to data from the state CDC.
Workers at the Maine CDC take the data and use different models to plan for possible scenarios in terms of how COVID-19 will spread.
“We use these models to try to understand how we should plan for and allocate resources,” said Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine CDC. “Right now in Maine, we have an opportunity to prevent a larger outbreak from taking hold.”
State officials are now taking precautionary measures in the event hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
With the help of the Maine National Guard and Maine Emergency Management Agency, authorities will set up 50 hospital beds at the Cross Center in Bangor, as well as 100 beds at Portland’s Cross Insurance Arena.
The beds would be used to treat non-coronavirus patients, freeing up space in local hospitals.
Mills added during the press conference that currently, Maine has adequate space in hospitals to treat patients.
“I hope we never have to use these sites, but we cannot afford to wait to find out,” Mills said. “Building them now will assure that if the need does arise, we will be prepared, and Maine people will be cared for and Maine people will survive.”
The hospital beds are scheduled to be set up as soon as next week.