The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 617 cases of the novel coronavirus and six additional deaths, ending a week where the state’s cumulative deaths topped 400 and its hospitals reached an all-time high in capacity.
Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 29,019 on Saturday, of which 24,218 have been confirmed by testing and 4,801 are considered probable cases of COVID-19.
Four hundred thirty-two people have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in Maine. Information about the people reported to have died Saturday wasn’t yet available from the Maine CDC. On Friday, the agency reported a stunning 41 deaths, though only six had occurred in the prior 48 hours. The remainder took place in December and were later linked to COVID-19.
Maine also set a new record high in daily cases on Friday, with 782. With Saturday’s numbers, that brings the state’s seven-day average of new daily cases to 540.7.
A record 202 patients were hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 on Thursday, and that number increased to 205 on Friday. Hospital data weren’t yet available Saturday morning.
Southern Maine hospitals bore the brunt of the inpatient count, which clustered in York County hospitals and at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Maine Med surpassed a prior record for COVID-19 inpatients set in November by reaching an average of 38 inpatients each day for the week ending Thursday.
As of Saturday morning, 52,324 people had received a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Maine CDC’s website. A second dose – needed for full immunity – had gone to 4,668 people, with the remainder only having received one.
The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden is urging the immediate distribution of all available vaccine doses, in contrast to the Trump administration’s policy of holding back a reserve to ensure that people can get their second doses for full effect. Only about a quarter of 29.4 million doses distributed to states have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, Maine public health officials this week said they do not yet have plans to issue proof of COVID-19 vaccination, which may become a useful passport of sorts in a pandemic-era environment where proof of a negative test is already required for travel, in some cases. State officials are awaiting federal guidance on how best to provide proof of vaccinations.
County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 3,109 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 827 in Aroostook, 8,552 in Cumberland, 514 in Franklin, 619 in Hancock, 2,153 in Kennebec, 412 in Knox, 355 in Lincoln, 1,305 in Oxford, 2,538 in Penobscot, 141 in Piscataquis, 502 in Sagadahoc, 847 in Somerset, 401 in Waldo, 425 in Washington, and 6,308 in York.
By age, 13.6 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.2 percent were in their 20s, 14.7 percent were in their 30s, 13.3 percent were in their 40s, 15.4 percent were in their 50s, 11.8 percent were in their 60s, 6.8 percent were in their 70s, and 6.2 percent were 80 or older.
Updated hospital capacity data weren’t yet available Saturday morning. On Friday, Maine hospitals had 205 patients with COVID-19, of whom 56 were in intensive care and 26 were on ventilators. The state had 85 intensive care unit beds available of a total 390, and 215 ventilators available of 320. There were also 443 alternative ventilators.
Around the world on Saturday morning, there were nearly 89 million known cases of COVID-19 and over 1.9 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 21.8 million cases and just under 369,000 deaths.
This story will be updated.