PORTLAND, Maine — Maine has posted three consecutive days with more than 50 reported coronavirus cases for the first time since May, and the state’s rolling average of new daily cases is also on track to hit a record high in the coming days.
The state’s total number of reported cases of coronavirus has increased by 57, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. The new cases reported on Tuesday brought the total reported coronavirus cases in Maine to 6,311, while the number of deaths remained at 146, Maine CDC said.
Maine CDC has reported four consecutive days with more than 50 coronavirus cases only once, from May 19-22.
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The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases — which smoothes out day-to-day fluctuations — has also almost returned to the high point of 52 that it reached in late May as the state began a phased reopening of businesses and expanded the availability of virus tests. The state’s seven-day average of new cases hit a low point of around 15 in early August, and it has spiked dramatically in the last two weeks, from 30 in mid-October to 49.4 on Wednesday.
Maine has a much lower rate of positive coronavirus cases than most of the rest of the U.S., but public health authorities cautioned the state’s positivity rate is slowly growing. The pace of Mainers going to the hospital for COVID-19 has also not ticked up from an average of roughly 1 per day since mid-summer, but given how long it takes the disease to progress in a person, hospitalizations tend to be slower to rise than new cases.
“It has started inching and ticking upward over the past week, over the past two weeks,” Maine CDC director Nirav Shah told Maine Public during a Monday interview. “That’s a concerning sign that’s on the horizon for us.”
Maine health authorities are battling an outbreak in Waldo County that is based around a church in Brooks and has sickened dozens. Smaller, family-level events have also helped the virus spread, Shah said. He said the new cases are a reminder to take precautions and maintain social distance.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
BDN writer Charles Eichacker contributed to this report.