Maine CDC reports 343 COVID-19 cases, seven deaths

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 343 cases of the novel coronavirus and seven additional deaths, adding to the growing surge in cases even as health officials race to immunize the population faster than in many other states.

Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 25,245 on Saturday, of which 21,412 have been confirmed by testing and 3,833 are considered probable cases of COVID-19.

Three hundred fifty-eight people have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in Maine. Information about the people reported Saturday to have died wasn’t immediately available from the Maine CDC.

Maine saw a continued trend of high case counts this week, with 702 new cases on Thursday and 700 on Friday. On Saturday, Maine’s seven-day average of new daily cases reached 529.3.

Despite the heightening surge, Maine is one of the country’s fastest distributors of COVID-19 vaccines in proportion to its population, according to Bloomberg News. As of Thursday, Maine had given the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to 2.02 percent of its population, behind only South Dakota’s 2.14 percent and West Virginia’s 2.5 percent. Maine already has used 51.1 percent of the vaccine doses provided by the federal government – more than any other state.

On Friday, Maine had vaccinated 2.29 percent of its population of 1.3 million. The high-speed distribution effort went forward despite delays from Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine program, which provided fewer doses to Maine than expected over the first few weeks of vaccine availability.

The first vaccine doses in Maine have gone to front-line health workers and the highest-risk residents, but next week distribution may expand to some private medical practices and assisted-living facilities, public health officials said.

Meanwhile, the state’s hospitals have seen relatively stable numbers of COVID-19 inpatients – with the exception of Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. There, at eastern Maine’s largest hospital, the daily average of COVID-19 inpatients rose to 51.9 for the week ending Thursday. That’s up from 44 the week before and 26.6 the week before that.

County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 2,728 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 696 in Aroostook, 7,570 in Cumberland, 454 in Franklin, 552 in Hancock, 1,879 in Kennebec, 373 in Knox, 308 in Lincoln, 1,125 in Oxford, 2,172 in Penobscot, 117 in Piscataquis, 389 in Sagadahoc, 751 in Somerset, 382 in Waldo, 385 in Washington, and 5,345 in York.

By age, 13.6 percent of patients were under 20, while 18 percent were in their 20s, 14.6 percent were in their 30s, 13.2 percent were in their 40s, 15.6 percent were in their 50s, 11.8 percent were in their 60s, 6.9 percent were in their 70s, and 6.2 percent were 80 or older.

Updated hospital capacity information wasn’t yet available Saturday morning. On Friday, Maine hospitals had 188 patients with COVID-19, of whom 48 were in intensive care and 19 were on ventilators. The state had 111 intensive care unit beds available of a total 376, and 234 ventilators available of 320. There were also 443 alternative ventilators.

Around the world on Saturday morning, there were 84 million known cases of COVID-19 and 1.8 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had over 20 million cases and close to 348,000 deaths.

This story will be updated.

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Updated: January 2, 2021 — 2:38 pm

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