Maine reports 53 more deaths from COVID-19 as the pandemic number exceeds 2,000 lives
Maine reports 53 more deaths from COVID-19 as the pandemic number exceeds 2,000 lives

Maine reports 53 more deaths from COVID-19 as the pandemic number exceeds 2,000 lives

Maine reported 53 more deaths from COVID-19 in an update released Thursday, bringing the total number of lives lost to more than 2,000 since the pandemic reached the state nearly two years ago.

The large number of deaths reported Thursday is likely the result of a review of death certificates going weeks back or more. The state periodically reviews death certificates to catch up on COVID-19 deaths, which it may have previously missed in the daily updates.

The deaths reported Thursday bring the total number of Maine residents who died during the pandemic to 2,024.

Maine Center for Disease Control and prevention also added 1,123 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday as it works through a backlog of positive tests. The state is likely to complete its work to eliminate the backlog by the end of the week, Maine CDC spokesman Robert Long said Wednesday. Since the pandemic began, Maine has registered 224,048 cases of COVID-19.

Maine has reduced the backlog of untreated positive COVID-19 tests from nearly 60,000 on top of the omicron wave to about 6,000 on Wednesday.

The state’s shift to a partially automated screening test process, coupled with a dramatic drop in the number of new tests submitted each day, has allowed CDC staff to catch up on several weeks of cases that had not reached the state official. count.

“With the exception of a significant increase in the number of positive results reported in the coming days, the backlog is likely to be eliminated by the end of this week,” Maine CDC spokesman Robert Long said in an email response to questions Wednesday.

Hospital admissions had not yet been updated Thursday, but stood at 211 on Wednesday, a significant drop from a high of 436 on January 13th. Maine Medical Center in Portland reported Wednesday that it had begun resuming some procedures – such as knee and hip replacements – that had been postponed during the omicron wave. By the end of January, the backlog of surgeries had grown to about 2,000.

As pandemic conditions improve, mask mandates disappear, with South Portland and Brunswick this week joining Portland, Freeport and Bath in lifting mask mandates. Some schools are starting to announce dates for when masks will be optional, including school departments in Lisbon, Hermon and Oakland. Other schools, such as Lewiston, are strongly considering masking optional policies.

Maine does not have a school mask mandate, but the Maine CDC currently recommends indoor masking in schools, and most schools follow these guidelines. Dr. However, Nirav Shah, Maine CDC director, said the masking recommendation will be reconsidered next week when school resumes after the February break.

The U.S. CDC is also soon considering changing its recommendations for indoor masking for schools.

This story will be updated.

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