The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 197 cases of the novel coronavirus, and no new deaths, breaking a four-day streak of new caseloads over 200.
Maine health officials last week reported the first known case of a COVID-19 variant from Brazil, though since the patient hadn’t traveled, it’s likely already spreading in the community. Meanwhile, the Maine CDC launched its first statewide vaccination registry, drawing 30,000 signups in just a few days.
Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 49,653 on Sunday. Of those, 38,221 have been confirmed by testing and 11,432 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 198 on Sunday.
Seven hundred thirty-six people have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in Maine.
A Franklin County resident was the first in Maine to have a Braziliant variant of COVID-19 that’s known for resistance to antibodies, meaning people who have already had the disease could be reinfected. The CDC reported Friday that it had also detected 15 cases of the variant known as B.1.1.7, first found in the United Kingdom, and four cases of the variant B.1.351, from South Africa.
Earlier in the week, a “soft launch” of Maine’s new statewide vaccine registration system drew tens of thousands of applicants in days. The system won’t replace medical providers’ existing registration protocols, though some providers say they’ll switch over.
As Maine works to achieve herd immunity among its population of 1.3 million, a threshold whose lower limit is around 70 percent, outreach efforts have begun toward the state’s immigrant population. More than 48,000 Mainers identified as foreign-born in the last census, and volunteers and nonprofit workers have been working to give them information on vaccine safety and scheduling to overcome language barriers and misinformation on social media.
“I did have a lot of questions due to what was on social media,” Patrice Lumumba, an initially skeptical medical interpreter who’s now helping immigrants with vaccination, said in an interview. “Is the vaccine safe? Is it really ready for people to be vaccinated? I didn’t trust websites saying it was against Black people, but I was one of the last people in my department to be vaccinated. I wanted to see how it affected others first.”
There aren’t solid data on COVID-19 vaccination rates by race or country of origin, in part because many people choose not to share that information. But outreach workers in communities of immigrants and people of color say vaccine reluctance is decreasing as their informational efforts progress and more of the population receives shots.
As of Sunday, 410,506 Mainers had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 254,301 had received their final dose. Out of Maine’s population of 1.3 million, 30.54 percent have received their first dose, according to Maine CDC statistics.
County by county as of Sunday, there had been 5,234 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,388 in Aroostook, 13,823 in Cumberland, 977 in Franklin, 1,031 in Hancock, 4,222 in Kennebec, 797 in Knox, 647 in Lincoln, 2,502 in Oxford, 4,533 in Penobscot, 379 in Piscataquis, 966 in Sagadahoc, 1,356 in Somerset, 695 in Waldo, 760 in Washington and 10,529 in York.
By age, 16.2 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.2 percent were in their 20s, 14.4 percent were in their 30s, 13.2 percent were in their 40s, 15.2 percent were in their 50s, 11.5 percent were in their 60s, 6.2 percent were in their 70s, and 5.2 percent were 80 or older.
Updated hospital capacity numbers weren’t yet available Sunday morning. Of the 78 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday, 26 were in intensive care and eight were on ventilators. The state had 103 intensive care unit beds available of a total 368, and 248 ventilators available of 319. There were also 446 alternative ventilators.
Around the world late on Sunday morning, there were 126.8 million known cases of COVID-19 and over 2.77 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 30.2 million cases and 548,828 deaths.
This story will be updated.