The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 350 cases of the novel coronavirus and one additional death, bringing the state’s seven-day average ever higher as older Mainers wait for guidance on how to receive a vaccine.
The state’s cumulative cases rose to 25,592. Of those cases, 21,693 have been confirmed by testing and 3,899 are considered probable cases of the coronavirus.
Three hundred fifty-nine people have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in Maine. The person reported to have died Saturday was a Hancock County man in his 60s, the Maine CDC said.
The state’s seven-day average of new daily cases reached 531.4 on Sunday, and hospitalizations rose to 190 across the state. Meanwhile, Maine has given 32,995 people at least the first dose of a vaccine against COVID-19.
Maine has been one of the fastest states – in proportion to population – to distribute its allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, according to data maintained by Bloomberg News. But some older Mainers are asking for clearer communication from state officials and vaccine providers about when it’ll be their turn to be immunized.
The first doses in Maine are going to front-line health workers and residents of long-term care facilities, but people over 75 will start receiving priority in the next phase of the state’s distribution plan. That leaves older residents wondering how to put themselves in line.
In Florida, state officials’ decision to distribute vaccine on a first-come, first-served basis for seniors led to long lines and overnight campouts at vaccine facilities. The Maine CDC says it is still working out the details of vaccine distribution in this next phase of the plan, and is considering moving people over 75 ahead of essential workers in the vaccine queue.
The public health agency said recently that officials likely will rely on primary care doctors or other medical workers to notify older patients that they’re eligible for a vaccine.
Maine’s quick rollout of the vaccine means that the state had already given about 50 percent of doses provided by the federal government last week. That’s a higher proportion than any other state.
Meanwhile last week, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor saw a surge in COVID-19 inpatients. Eastern Maine’s largest hospital saw its daily average of inpatients rise to 51.9 for the week ending Thursday, 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 2,754 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 713 in Aroostook, 7,627 in Cumberland, 464 in Franklin, 557 in Hancock, 1,907 in Kennebec, 379 in Knox, 312 in Lincoln, 1,148 in Oxford, 2,222 in Penobscot, 120 in Piscataquis, 404 in Sagadahoc, 761 in Somerset, 385 in Waldo, 389 in Washington, and 5,443 in York.
By age, 13.8 percent of patients were under 20, while 17.9 percent were in their 20s, 14.6 percent were in their 30s, 13.1 percent were in their 40s, 15.7 percent were in their 50s, 11.9 percent were in their 60s, 6.9 percent were in their 70s, and 6.2 percent were 80 or older.
Maine hospitals had 190 patients with COVID-19 on Sunday, of whom 47 were in intensive care and 20 were on ventilators. The state had 88 intensive care unit beds available of a total 384, and 213 ventilators available of 320. There were also 443 alternative ventilators.
Around the world on Sunday morning, there were nearly 84.6 million known cases of COVID-19 and 1.8 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 20.4 million cases and over 350,000 deaths.