Maine is reporting 246 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the second-highest one-day total since the pandemic began. One additional person died on Tuesday, according to the Maine CDC.
The previous record was 248 cases on Nov. 12. The seven-day average of daily new cases stood at 190.3 on Tuesday, compared to 91.1 two weeks ago, and 30 a month ago.
Overall, there have been 9,363 total cases of COVID-19, and 166 deaths.
Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine CDC director, said the state is seeing increasing growth in community spread, or cases not tied to outbreaks. But the health agency is also currently responding to 14 outbreaks across the state.
“The ground has been seeded in ever-increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases,” Shah said in a media briefing on Monday.
Despite the grim situation in Maine and across the country, scientists have received promising news during the past week on the vaccine front .
Two vaccine candidates developed by Moderna and Pfizer have shown 90 percent or better effectiveness, and both companies will likely seek emergency use authorization from the federal government later this month. The first vaccines could be given before the end of the year, with widespread rollout in 2021. Among the first in line to be immunized will be health care workers and first responders.
Shah said the Pfizer vaccine’s ultra-cold storage requirement – including freezers that can maintain minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit) – poses logistical difficulties, such as making it hard to store the vaccine in enough places to be easily accessible for the general population. The Moderna vaccine, in contrast, can be stored for 30 days in a refrigerator, or longer in a freezer.
“The Pfizer vaccine will require bringing people to the vaccine, but with the Moderna vaccine, we can bring the vaccine to the people,” Shah said.
This story will be updated.