FORT KENT, Maine – Aroostook County ranks first in the country for the number of COVID-19 cases per capita, according to data compiled by the New York Times.
COVID cases in Aroostook County have risen 141 percent over the past two weeks. The county has an average of 67 cases per day, 99 cases per 100,000 members of the population. Aroostook has a population of 67,055.
Although the number of COVID cases had dropped in Maine earlier this year, they began to rise again in April. Penobscot County is the fourth highest in the last 14 days at a rate of 76.7 cases per year. 10,000 people, topped by Cumberland at 81.18 and Kennebec at 83.47. Aroostook is the latest county to move up to the top spot with 133.81 cases per. 10,000 people.
Only counties in the U.S. territories of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have more covid-19 cases per capita. per capita than Aroostook, according to a table published by the New York Times, which compiled data from state and local health agencies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Maine as a whole, averaging 752 cases a day, ranks second after Rhode Island as the state with the most coronavirus cases per capita.
Maine’s daily hospital rate has also risen dramatically in the last 14 days, with a daily average of 211 people hospitalized with the virus, according to the Maine CDC. In Aroostook, hospital admissions have increased more than five times over the past 14 days to 11 out of 100,000.
Both the University of Maine in Fort Kent, located at the top of Aroostook County and the University of Maine at Presque Isle about 60 miles south, required proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to attend the launch ceremonies Saturday.
A few days before the ceremonies, university officials on both campuses implemented a mask requirement for the events due to the growing number of cases in northern Maine.
Many public schools in Aroostook County continue to allow for optional masking among staff and students.
The majority of Aroostook County residents – 69 percent – have been fully vaccinated against the virus compared to 80 percent throughout Maine.
Maine has reported more than 250,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, and 2,327 Mainers have died from the virus.