Maine CDC reports 24 cases of coronavirus, no additional deaths

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The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 24 cases of the novel coronavirus, but the agency warned that the low case count came from a data error and does not reflect a full day’s worth of cases.

Monday’s numbers will likely have more cases as a result. There were no COVID-19 related deaths reported Sunday.

Taken on its own, Sunday’s case count is not necessarily part of a new trend. Since the beginning of the pandemic, epidemiologists have warned that one day’s results don’t make a pattern – and recent trends have not been in the right direction. A surge in cases this past week culminated in a statewide high of 103 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the most ever in one day in Maine.

Gov. Janet Mills this weekend is likely to announce new safety measures, including a possible rain check on bar reopenings, which had been planned for Monday. No announcement had been made as of late Sunday morning.

Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 6,715 on Sunday, a net increase of 47 cases since Friday. The reported number of new cases on Sunday – 24 – is less 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 6,715 cumulative cases, 5,944 have been confirmed by testing and 771 are considered probable cases of COVID-19.

One hundred forty-seven people have died with COVID-19 in Maine, and 5,554 have recovered from the disease. Maine had 1,014 active cases on Sunday.

State leaders announced a free rapid testing program as case rates climbed higher last week. A partnership with Walgreens will make available rapid antigen COVID-19 tests produced by Abbot Laboratories that produce results within 15 minutes.

The accuracy of these tests is still being studied, but health officials say they could be particularly useful for essential workers who need quick results to get back in the field where their services are needed. That could include health care workers, teachers, corrections officers and first responders.

The surge in cases across Maine has already curtailed extracurricular activities and sports in three counties – Somerset, Washington and Waldo – which state education officials last week moved to the “yellow” category for heightened risk from coronavirus.

In Portland, 66 students and staffers at Portland High School and Lyman Moore Middle School have been asked to quarantine after one case was detected at each of those schools, administrators said this weekend. Two other cases have also been found in Portland schools, but those people were not in school during their infectious period, school officials said.

Down in Kennebunkport, United States Postal Service officials confirmed Saturday night that one case of COVID-19 had been detected in the town’s Temple Street post office. A spokesman, Stephen Doherty, declined to discuss the person’s case, citing medical privacy, but said the Postal Service has “followed all appropriate protocols and precautions in consultation with postal occupational health administrators and local health officials in keeping with CDC standards.”

County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 876 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 67 in Aroostook, 2,638 in Cumberland, 86 in Franklin, 74 in Hancock, 355 in Kennebec, 94 in Knox, 65 in Lincoln, 179 in Oxford, 311 in Penobscot, 11 in Piscataquis, 88 in Sagadahoc, 199 in Somerset, 154 in Waldo, 68 in Washington, and 1,446 in York.

By age, 13 percent of patients were under 20, while 17 percent were in their 20s, 15.3 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, 7.3 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 Sunday, there were 46.1 million known cases of COVID-19 and nearly 1.2 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 9.1 million cases and more than 230,000 deaths.

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