Maine reports 11 new deaths from COVID-19
Maine reports 11 new deaths from COVID-19

Maine reports 11 new deaths from COVID-19

Maine reported 11 deaths and added 1,519 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday as the state health agency continues to work through a massive backlog of untreated positive tests.

Since the pandemic began, Maine has reported 222,925 cases of COVID-19 and 1,971 deaths.

Certainly reported over the past week does not reflect current pandemic trends, as other indicatorssuch as hospitalizations, sewage tests, and school outbreaks, show steady declines in the presence of coronavirus causing COVID-19.

The agency continues to work through a backlog of positive tests submitted over the last many weeks of the omicron rise and recently automated part of the screening process to determine which tests represented new cases and which were genetic tests. of people who were already infected. As a result, the state stopped investigating every single case to track outbreaks. Before the system was partially automated in February, the omicron wave overwhelmed the state agency’s ability to process tests in a timely manner, resulting in a backlog that at one point had grown to nearly 60,000 cases.

Admissions had not yet been updated on Wednesday. The total number of patients on Tuesday was 224, an increase from Monday, although the overall trend has been downward since a peak of 436 admissions on 13 January.

The decline in societal transmission of the virus has led to a easing of mask mandates in Maine and around the country. Portland, Freeport, and Bath have abolished indoor mesh mandates, and some states have set dates to remove mesh mandates from public schools.

Maine does not have a nationwide mandate for masking in schools, but most districts had followed the state’s recommendation that masks be required.

Some schools in Maine are announcing mask-optional policies, most recently Hermon schools, which set a March 14 date for masks that become optional. RSU 18 in Oakland set a date on Feb. 28 to make masks optional, and other schools, such as Lewiston, are considering mask-optional policies.

Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine CDC director, has said the agency will reconsider the recommendations for school masking next week, following the February break.

This story will be updated.

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