During a media briefing on Wednesday afternoon, an official from Northern Light Health announcing the organization’s labs have tested more than 3,700 people for coronavirus also attempted to debunk the thinking that warmer temperatures would kill it.

Dr. James Jarvis, the medical specialist for Northern Light’s incident command, said, “Warmer weather doesn’t mean the virus will be killed.” Nor does it prevent coronavirus from spreading.

“There are places in the Southern Hemisphere that have had just as many cases,” Jarvis said, referring to that part of the world that is experiencing the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.

Northern Light’s laboratories, which began processing its own tests two weeks ago, have tested 3,762 people with 112 testing positive as of Wednesday morning, according to Jarvis.

This doesn’t include the number of tests that were processed by state labs.

Jarvis said most of these tests have been administered to people in the “tier one” group of testing which comprises hospitalized patients and healthcare facility workers with symptoms.

When asked if the virus could be brought into people’s homes by their clothes or shoes, Jarvis said this was possible but not probable for the general public.

The bigger risk of the virus attaching to clothing is for health care providers working directly with patients who are confirmed positive, according to Jarvis.

Additionally, Jarvis announced that in accordance with a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control, Northern Light Health is encouraging all people who visit any of its facilities or have healthcare workers come to their homes to wear face coverings.

“Northern Light supports this and we encourage people who are visiting our facilities whether that be our hospitals, clinics or even if you’re part of our home care … wear those face coverings when appropriate …” Jarvis said.

Jarvis said wearing face coverings, which can include a mask, scarf or a bandana, is not a replacement for social distancing and that people should remain 6 feet apart from one another and keep up proper handwashing.

Northern Light Health employs 12,000 people operating 10 hospitals and eight nursing homes across the state.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Maine has 907 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 39 deaths. Of the confirmed cases, 455 people have recovered and 413 people are still actively infected.

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