The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 165 COVID-19 cases and one additional death, continuing a summer surge that has Waldo County as a hotspot.
Waldo County’s seven-day rate was 249 cases per 100,000 people on Friday, 2.5 times higher than what the U.S. CDC considers “high” transmission. The Maine CDC says community transmission is ongoing in Waldo County, where 57.14 percent of residents have received a final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to the statewide average of 61.03 percent.
Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 71,306 on Saturday. Of those, 51,936 have been confirmed by testing and 19,370 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 120.4, and the 14-day average was 100.1.
Nine hundred one people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began. The Maine CDC did not provide demographic information about the person reported Saturday to have died.
Five Maine counties — Aroostook, Cumberland, Lincoln, Penobscot and Piscataquis — had “substantial” COVID-19 transmission on Friday, meaning masks are recommended in public settings indoors, even for the vaccinated. With counties moving in and out of the mask-wearing range, sometimes day by day, residents and business owners have expressed confusion about how to follow and enforce a consistent standard.
In other news, a third “booster” shot of COVID-19 vaccine may soon be authorized for immunocompromised people. The Biden administration is pushing ahead efforts to shield the nation’s roughly 7 million adults with weakened immune systems from the delta variant.
“It is extremely important for us to move to get those individuals their boosters, and we are now working on that,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday at a White House briefing, adding that many immunosuppressed people did not have a vaccine response “that we feel would be adequately protective.”
The World Health Organization, however, is asking wealthier nations to hold off on booster shots at least until the fall, as it struggles to find enough doses to immunize other countries. The WHO’s goal is to vaccinate 10 percent of each country’s population by September, and 40 percent by December. If wealthy countries are putting a third shot into its residents’ arms rather than sharing first with other nations, experts argue, that will slow the global effort and allow the virus to spread — and perhaps develop yet more variants.
By Saturday morning, Maine had given 820,338 people the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 69.27 percent are now fully vaccinated.
Maine as of Friday had recorded 712 “breakthrough” cases, which occur when a fully vaccinated person contracts COVID-19. Unvaccinated people still make up the vast majority of new cases, and COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness even if a vaccinated person catches the disease.
County by county as of Saturday, there had been 8,547 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 2,030 in Aroostook, 17,739 in Cumberland, 1,427 in Franklin, 1,445 in Hancock, 6,789 in Kennebec, 1,212 in Knox, 1,135 in Lincoln, 3,724 in Oxford, 6,611 in Penobscot, 623 in Piscataquis, 1,491 in Sagadahoc, 2,363 in Somerset, 1,241 in Waldo, 964 in Washington and 13,949 in York.
By age, 19 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.2 percent were in their 20s, 15.3 percent were in their 30s, 13.4 percent were in their 40s, 14.5 percent were in their 50s, 10.2 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.
Around the world on Saturday, there were 201.8 million known cases of COVID-19 and 4.28 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 35.7 million cases and 616,501 deaths.
This story will be updated.