Maine reports 715 more coronavirus cases, two more deaths
Maine reported 715 more coronavirus cases and two more deaths on Friday as the state continues to push its way through a backlog of positive test results.
In total, there have been 83,322 cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic and 981 deaths. The number of reported cases overwhelmed staff at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and resulted in a daily count of cases, including some cases from several days ago versus a single 24-hour period.
This also appeared to be the case on Friday, with CDC data showing that the cases reported on Friday date back to September 8. A large portion of the new cases – 200 – were reported in Penobscot County.
The seven-day average of daily new cases was 485 on Friday, up from an average of 371 two weeks ago.
An increase in the demand for testing is straining supplies and creating eligibility limits and waiting times for appointments. It is accompanied by an increasing rate of positive test results, indicating that the virus continues to spread in communities in Maine. All counties in Maine are now classified as having high or substantial transmission.
The increase comes as young people return to school and college. The Maine Department of Education released weekly lists of school outbreaks on Thursday, although that information was not updated as of Friday morning. The department also said it plans to start publishing the weekly case count for schools in the state due to the prevalence of the delta variant and an increase in cases in schools.
The University of Maine system announced Thursday that it will resume daily updates on COVID-19 starting Monday and including the number of known active cases at each university, the isolation and quarantine space available and aggregated COVID-19 test data.
As of Thursday, there were 57 known active cases of COVID-19 in the university system. Ninety-seven percent of the quarantine space administered by the university was available and 91% of the isolation space administered by the university was available.
There were 194 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Maine on Thursday, including 70 in intensive care and 38 on a ventilator. Updated information on hospitalizations was not immediately available on Friday.
The majority of those hospitalized and almost all of those in intensive care have not been fully immunized, state and hospital officials say.
Statewide, 64.5% of Maine’s population of 1.3 million are fully immunized, and 73% of eligible people 12 years and older are fully immunized. However, disparities exist between age groups and geographic areas. Only 56 percent of young people aged 12 to 19 are fully immunized, while 90 percent of Mainers in their 60s and over are fully immunized.
Cumberland County has the highest vaccination rate at 75.7%, while Somerset County is the least vaccinated county at 51.9%.
Across the country, the wave of new cases appears to be slowing down. As of Friday, 154,897 new cases were reported nationwide for a seven-day average of new daily cases of 150,366. This is down from a seven-day average of 164,382 two weeks ago, according to the New York Times.
Reasons for missing immunization data vary by school district