Maine sees another record-high day of new coronavirus cases

By Christopher Burns, Bangor Daily News Staff

This story will be updated.

Another Mainer has died as health officials on Thursday reported 207 new coronavirus cases across the state.

Thursday’s report brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Maine to 8,396. Of those, 7,516 have been confirmed positive, while 880 were classified as “probable cases,” according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency revised Wednesday’s cumulative total to 8,189, down from 8,202, meaning there was a net increase of 194 over the previous day’s report, state data show. As the Maine CDC continues to investigate previously reported cases, some are determined to have not been the coronavirus, or coronavirus cases not involving Mainers. Those are removed from the state’s cumulative total. The Bangor Daily News reports on the number of new cases reported to the Maine CDC in the previous 24 hours, rather than the increase of daily cumulative cases.

New cases were reported in Androscoggin (40), Aroostook (1), Cumberland (35), Franklin (2), Hancock (12), Kennebec (23), Knox (11), Lincoln (2), Oxford (13), Penobscot (11), Sagadahoc (6), Somerset (7), Waldo (3), Washington (4) and York (31) counties, state data show. Information about where an additional six cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.

Only Piscataquis County reported no new cases in the previous 24 hours.

The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is 165.8, up from 163 a day ago, 128.1 a week ago and up from 31.8 a month ago.

Thursday’s report marks yet another day of record-high new cases amid the ongoing statewide surge in virus transmission. It broke the previous record-high of 202 seen on Sunday, according to Maine CDC data. Health officials have warned Mainers that “forceful and widespread” community transmission is being seen throughout the state.

There are two criteria for establishing community transmission: at least 10 confirmed cases and that at least 25 percent of those are not connected to either known cases or travel.

Despite the sudden surge in virus transmission, state officials are reluctant to institute a new stay-at-home order similar to what Mainers saw in the pandemic’s early weeks. Health Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said Monday that “nothing is off the table” to stop the spread of the virus, but said a stay-at-home order is not currently under consideration.

Last week, Gov. Janet Mills ordered Mainers to wear face coverings in all public spaces regardless of their distances from others. That move came after she delayed a planned reopening of bars and tasting rooms as cases began to climb statewide.

The latest death involved an Androscoggin County resident, bringing the statewide death toll to 159. In the past two weeks, Maine has recorded 12 deaths. That’s as many as the state saw in the two months prior combined. Nearly all deaths have been in Mainers over age 60.

So far, 533 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Information about those who are currently hospitalized wasn’t immediately available. 

Meanwhile, 50 more people have recovered from the coronavirus, bringing total recoveries to 6,275. That means there are 1,962 active confirmed and “probable” cases in the state, which is up/down from 1,818 on Wednesday. It’s yet another record high for active cases.

A majority of the cases — 4,843 — have been in Mainers under age 50, while more cases have been reported in women than men, according to the Maine CDC.

As of Tuesday, there have been 706,408 negative test results out of 716,057 overall. Almost 1.3 percent of all tests have come back positive, the most recently available Maine CDC data show.

The coronavirus has hit hardest in Cumberland County, where 3,097 cases have been reported and where the bulk of virus deaths — 70 — have been concentrated. Other cases have been reported in Androscoggin (1,081), Aroostook (83), Franklin (134), Hancock (136), Kennebec (525), Knox (155), Lincoln (92), Oxford (220), Penobscot (426), Piscataquis (19), Sagadahoc (113), Somerset (315), Waldo (185), Washington (126) and York (1,682) counties. Information about where an additional six cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.

As of Thursday morning, the coronavirus had sickened 10,403,737 people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as caused 241,809 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

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