Maine health officials reported 799 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 more deaths on Saturday.
New cases were not updated on Friday because Thursday was a federal and state holiday.
The seven-day daily average has gradually increased to more than 500 new cases in recent weeks. Maine’s infection rate has been above the national average for weeks, as the virus mainly spreads in parts of the state with low vaccination rates.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 111,145 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Maine and 1,230 people have died from the virus, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
While hospital admissions have fallen nationally, Maine hit a record number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday, with 248 people hospitalized, surpassing the previous record of 235 on Sept. 25. 31 were on ventilators.
The number of hospital admissions fell slightly from Saturday, although it remained higher than the previous record. On Saturday, 240 people were hospitalized, of whom 69 in intensive care and 36 on ventilators.
The majority of those in Maine’s hospitals are unvaccinated.
The pace of vaccinations has accelerated in recent weeks. And more school clinics are expected to start vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds this week.
In all, Maine has given 951,609 final doses of vaccine, accounting for 70.8 percent of all residents. Children ages 5 to 11 have received 8,742 first doses and 64 last doses, since the Pfizer vaccines were made available to them last week. That’s more than double the number of vaccines administered as of Wednesday, when 3,189 first doses were given.
In addition to the final doses, Maine has administered 160,070 booster doses.
dr. Nirav Shah, CDC director of Maine, said on Wednesday the virus is spreading mainly among unvaccinated people in rural areas, where residents were largely spared from the first wave of the pandemic. He said unvaccinated people account for 86 percent of all COVID-19 cases since vaccines became widely available last spring, while 99 percent of vaccinated people have not contracted the disease.
Cooler, drier weather may also contribute to the current wave by promoting transmission of the virus and forcing people to spend more time indoors, where the virus also spreads more easily, Shah said this week.
And it comes just weeks before the holiday season officially kicks off, a period that sparked a surge last winter, although there were fewer average daily cases and other safety measures, like universal masking, were more widespread.
dr. James Jarvis, COVID-19 incident commander for Northern Light Health, the parent company of Eastern Maine Medical Center at Bangor and Mercy Hospital in Portland, said on Wednesday that hospitalizations remain a concern, with hospitals caring for many of the COVID-19 patients from the United States. countryside Maine.
“If we’re not on our guard” by failing to vaccinate and refusing to take public health precautions like wearing masks indoors, “we’re going to face a tough winter,” Jarvis said.
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