Maine on Tuesday reported 883 new cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period, and seven additional deaths.
If there is no backlog for this week and cases are being reviewed and reported as they are submitted to the state, the numbers over the weekend represent a slight downturn in cases. Last week was the first time in several weeks that the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not have a backlog of cases that affected daily case reports.
Maine does not report cases over the weekend, so Tuesday’s numbers reflect cases from Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
The seven-day average of daily new cases stood at 528.6 on Tuesday, compared to 370.3 a week ago and 484.6 a month ago.
Since the pandemic began, Maine has logged 98,607 positive cases of COVID-19, and 1,102 deaths.
Cumberland County, the state’s most populous, had the highest one-day total, with 133 cases on Tuesday, followed by Kennebec County at 114 cases and Penobscot County at 111 cases. Adjusted for population, Cumberland County’s seven-day total was the lowest per capita in the state, at 173.2 cases per 100,000 population over the past week, compared to the hardest hit county in the state, Somerset County, with 477.4 cases per 100,000 population.
Cumberland County is the most-vaccinated county in the state, with 76.8 percent of the total population fully vaccinated, while Somerset County is the least immunized at 54.7 percent.
In a tweet on Sunday, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pointed to U.S. CDC data showing that unvaccinated people are more than six times likely to test positive for COVID-19 than people who are immunized, and the unvaccinated are more than 11 times likely to die from the disease.
“These data are further evidence of what scores of clinical trials have shown: vaccines significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 illness and death,” Shah said in a tweet. “They lead to one question: if you are not vaccinated, what additional data would you need to convince you to get a shot?
Hospitalizations continue to increase, to 201 people hospitalized on Monday – the latest data available – compared to 152 statewide two weeks ago.
John Porter, spokesman for MaineHealth, said officials there are still trying to determine if recent hospitalizations are a sign of increased virus spread or if there are other factors at play, including whether there are difficulties with discharging patients.
Similarly, Karen Cashman, spokeswoman for Northern Light Health, said hospitals in their network are having a hard time with that.
“This is because of the decreasing number of those beds available in Maine due to a variety of reasons – including facility closure,” she said. “The result is some patients stay longer in hospitals than they need to simply because there is no skilled nursing bed to send them to. When appropriate and when it is safe to do so, we are also transitioning some patients back home with home-care physical therapy and occupational therapy support.”