Maine reported 1,275 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday — the highest number of new cases reported in a single day — and eight additional deaths as the fall wave of the pandemic continues and a new variant looms.
Since the start of the pandemic, Maine has reported 125,373 cases of COVID-19 and 1,356 deaths. Wednesday’s high numbers are likely in part a reflection of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s “catching up” on previous days’ cases, as there is often a delay in reporting cases from the weekend, when the agency doesn’t new reports. numbers. For example, Tuesday’s three-day total of about 325 cases per day was significantly lower than the daily numbers reported last week, when the Maine CDC reported about 800 to 900 cases per day.
Hospital admissions also continue to break records, with 367 people hospitalized on Tuesday for COVID-19, the latest available data, including 110 in intensive care and 59 on a ventilator.
Meanwhile, scientists are studying a new variant of the coronavirus, omicron, which may be more contagious than the delta variant, which is currently the most common in the United States. But it is not known whether, on average, omicron causes more or less severe cases than delta. So far, no cases of omicron have been discovered in Maine, but it has been discovered in at least 19 states.
Early indications are that omicron may cause milder cases than the delta variant, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical director, in a media briefing Tuesday.
“It could be, and I underline that it may be less serious, as evidenced by the ratio of hospitalizations per number of new cases,” Fauci said.
Scientists are also investigating the effectiveness of current vaccines against the ommicron variant. All people 18 years and older are recommended to receive a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who are at least six months away from their last shot.
To meet increasing demand, especially for booster shots, the Mills administration has opened a new COVID-19 vaccination clinic in the Augusta Armory, 170 Western Avenue. Operated by the Maine CDC, Maine Emergency Management Agency, and the Maine National Guard, the clinic offers free Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to anyone ages 5 and older.
“Vaccination remains the best and most effective way to protect your health and that of your loved ones,” Governor Janet Mills said in a statement. “I encourage all people in Maine to take advantage of this new clinic in Augusta, which will be open after normal business hours, to get their free vaccine today.”
The clinic will initially be open on Wednesdays from 9am to 4pm, on Thursdays from 12pm to 7pm and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm. The clinic is expected to be open at least until the end of 2021, although the opening hours and days the clinic is open may vary in the coming weeks.
This story is being updated.
Yeto’s in Biddeford closes this month