State health officials reported 1,042 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest single day reported to date, as the virus continues its assault on Maine despite high and increasing vaccination rates.
No additional deaths were reported.
The number of COVID-19 patients filling hospitals in Maine rose again to a new record on Wednesday. There are 280 patients in hospitals in Maine, 77 of whom are in intensive care and 36 on ventilators to help them breathe.
Last month at this time, 169 people were hospitalized. Overwhelmingly, those who are hospitalized are either unvaccinated or vaccinated, but older and with older people with serious health problems.
The seven-day daily average now stands at 505, up from 473 cases two weeks ago and from 397 cases this time last month, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Maine’s average positivity rate — the percentage of all tests that come back positive — peaked at 8.5 percent on Tuesday. Test volume has also increased 17 percent in the past two weeks.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 113,132 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and 1,243 deaths. Despite the recent rise, both numbers still rank third per capita in any state.
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah is scheduled to provide an update to media members at 2pm on Wednesday.
Cases have started to rise again across the country, fueling fears of another deadly wave as the holiday season approaches. According to the US CDC, the seven-day case average is 83,671, an 11 percent increase from 75,186 cases averaged two weeks earlier. There are still an average of more than 1,000 deaths a day across the country and more than 760,000 people have lost their lives to the virus since the start of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, vaccinations have accelerated in Maine in recent weeks, in part because of booster shots and doses for children ages 5-11. The state uses an average of more than 8,800 doses per day, up 25 percent from the previous week.
In all, Maine has administered 952,132 final doses of vaccines, or 70.8 percent of all residents. In addition, 178,506 booster injections have been given and 14,097 primary school-age children, or 14.6 percent of all children in that category, have received their first doses of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine. In Cumberland and Lincoln counties, 1 in 4 children ages 5-11 have received their first injection. In Piscataquis County, less than 3 percent have done so.
While Maine’s overall vaccination rate is high, it remains uneven. That means there are large groups of unvaccinated people in some parts of the state, which is where the virus has spread the most. The gap between Cumberland County, which has the highest percentage, and Somerset County, which has the lowest percentage, is almost 20 percentage points.
This story is being updated.
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