Maine CDC reports 101 cases as worrying surge continues

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The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 101 cases of the novel coronavirus, and one death, capping a surge in cases this week that may force state officials to cancel planned reopenings of some public spaces.

Maine saw 103 new cases on Friday, the highest since the pandemic began. On Saturday, the 7-day daily new case average was 78.3, compared to an average of 14 in mid-August. Given the dramatic turn for the worse, Gov. Janet Mills is likely this weekend to announce new safety measures, including the possible postponement of planned bar reopenings around the state.

“We are nearing a phase of exponential growth, if we haven’t entered it already,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said on Twitter Saturday. “It’s easy to think you’re flying until you hit the ground.”

Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 6,668 on Saturday, a net increase of 98 cases since Friday. The reported number of new cases on Saturday – 101 – is higher than the difference in daily totals because the Maine CDC revises its numbers of cumulative total cases based on how many “probable” cases later test negative, and on the results of contact tracing investigations.

Of those 6,668 cumulative cases, 5,907 have been confirmed by testing and 761 are considered probable cases of COVID-19.

One hundred forty-seven people have died with COVID-19 in Maine, and 5,517 have recovered from the disease. The person reported Saturday to have died was a woman in her 90s from York County, the Maine CDC said.

Maine had 1,004 active cases on Saturday, a sharp increase from last Saturday’s 674.

Three counties – Somerset, Washington and Waldo – are now in the “yellow” category for heightened risk in school reopening. Hybrid learning is recommended and extracurricular activities such as sports may be limited or canceled.

Washington County’s cumulative case total has more than doubled in the past week, from 31 last Saturday to 69 this Saturday.

County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 873 COVID-19 cases in Androscoggin, 65 in Aroostook, 2,621 in Cumberland, 82 in Franklin, 73 in Hancock, 353 in Kennebec, 93 in Knox, 65 in Lincoln, 178 in Oxford, 310 in Penobscot, 10 in Piscataquis, 88 in Sagadahoc, 193 in Somerset, 154 in Waldo, 69 in Washington, and 1,435 in York.

By age, 13 percent of patients were under 20, while 17 percent were in their 20s, 15.4 percent were in their 30s, 13.6 percent were in their 40s, 16.3 percent were in their 50s, 11.2 percent were in their 60s, 7.2 percent were in their 70s, and 6.4 percent were 80 or older.

Women still make up a slight majority of cases, at just over 51 percent.

Effective Oct. 1, the Maine CDC said it will no longer update hospital capacity data on weekends. On Friday, Maine’s hospitals had 17 patients with COVID-19, of whom five were in intensive care and one was on a ventilator. The state had 97 intensive care unit beds available of a total 391, and 241 ventilators available of 315. There were also 444 alternative ventilators.

Around the world on Saturday, there were 45.6 million known cases of COVID-19 and nearly 1.2 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had more than 9 million cases and 229,000 deaths.

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