Maine sees record-high 41 deaths and 782 new coronavirus cases

By Christopher Burns, Bangor Daily News Staff

This story will be updated.

Maine marked its grimmest day yet in the pandemic Friday when 41 more Mainers died and 782 new cases were reported.

Friday’s report brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Maine to 28,407, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 27,625 on Thursday.

Of those, 23,803 have been confirmed positive, while 4,604 were classified as “probable cases,” the Maine CDC reported.

This latest surge in deaths — the highest since Dec. 1, when 20 were reported — brings the statewide death toll to 426.

New deaths were reported in Androscoggin (3), Aroostook (8), Cumberland (2), Franklin (2), Hancock (6), Kennebec (4), Oxford (5), Penobscot (3), Somerset (1), Washington (1) and York (6) counties, according to the Maine CDC. Nearly all deaths have been in Mainers over age 60.

Friday’s report marked the highest single-day increase in new cases since Dec. 23, when Maine saw 753 new cases. It’s the seventh time in the past 10 days when new cases exceeded 400, the fourth time this week when they crested 500 and the second time this year when they surged above 700.

That comes as elevated virus transmission continues its monthslong surge, bringing high levels of community transmission, which the Maine CDC defines as a case rate of 16 or more cases per 10,000 people, even to counties once largely spared the worst of the pandemic.

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.

Maine’s seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is 501.7, up from 489.3 a day ago, down from 528.3 a week ago and up from 297.3 a month ago.

So far, 1,150 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. Information about those who are currently hospitalized wasn’t immediately available.

A majority of the cases — 16,959 — have been in Mainers under age 50, while more cases have been reported in women than men, according to the Maine CDC. 

As of Thursday, there have been 1,237,205 negative test results out of 1,271,403 overall. More than 2.6 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 8,400 cases have been reported and where the bulk of virus deaths — 110 — have been concentrated. Other cases have been reported in Androscoggin (3,037), Aroostook (819), Franklin (508), Hancock (611), Kennebec (2,099), Knox (405), Lincoln (348), Oxford (1,272), Penobscot (2,452), Piscataquis (137), Sagadahoc (489), Somerset (826), Waldo (395), Washington (423) and York (6,170) counties. Information about where an additional 16 cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.

As of Friday morning, the coronavirus had sickened 21,585,630 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 365,259 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine

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