Maine’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic took an unprecedented turn Friday with 119 new cases reported across the state. It’s yet another day of record-high new cases amid a statewide surge in virus transmission.
Friday’s report brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Maine to 6,570. Of those, 5,829 have been confirmed positive, while 741 were classified as “probable cases,” according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The agency revised Thursday’s cumulative total to 6,451, down from 6,467, meaning there was an increase of 103 over the previous day’s report, state data show. As the Maine CDC continues to investigate previously reported cases, some are determined to have not been the coronavirus, or coronavirus cases not involving Mainers. Those are removed from the state’s cumulative total. The Bangor Daily News reports on the number of new daily cases reported to the Maine CDC, rather than the increase of daily cumulative cases.
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New cases were reported in Androscoggin (6), Aroostook (1), Cumberland (48), Franklin (1), Hancock (2), Kennebec (10), Knox (6), Lincoln (2), Oxford (5), Penobscot (4), Sagadahoc (2), Somerset (13), Waldo (1), Washington (2) and York (12) counties, state data show. Information about where an additional four cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.
Only Piscataquis County reported no new coronavirus cases.
“The surge [is] here … Take action now. For your sake, and for the sake of your family and community, wear a mask and stay apart. This is serious,” Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah said in a Friday morning tweet.
Shah warned Thursday that Maine is seeing “forceful and widespread” community transmission of the coronavirus throughout the state amid the present spike in cases. That spike could continue for some time, he said.
There are two criteria for establishing community transmission: at least 10 confirmed cases and that at least 25 percent of those are not connected to either known cases or travel.
The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is 70.4, up from 34.4 a week ago and up from 29.7 a month ago. That surpasses Thursday’s and Wednesday’s seven-day averages of 61.1 and 54.1, respectively. Before this week, the previous record high was recorded in late May, when it topped out at 52.6, according to Maine CDC data.
Friday’s report comes on the heels of the largest single-day jump in new coronavirus cases — 94 — seen in Maine since the pandemic reached here in March. That surpassed a record-high 87 on Wednesday and the previous high logged on May 19, when 78 were reported, Maine CDC data show. Maine has seen six consecutive days with new case reports above 50.
The current spike in coronavirus cases mirrors the rise seen in the spring during the earliest weeks of the pandemic, but this time around, it has become more widely dispersed, with surges in rural counties and among the young.
On Thursday, Gov. Janet Mills again extended her civil state of emergency for another 30 days amid this latest coronavirus surge, urging Mainers to “take every precaution to slow its spread.” It’s the eighth time she extended that order, which now expires — unless she renews it again — Nov. 27.
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No new deaths were reported Friday, leaving the statewide death toll at 146. A coronavirus death hasn’t been recorded in Maine since Oct. 17. Nearly all deaths have been in Mainers over age 60.
So far, 486 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Of those, 17 people are currently hospitalized, with five in critical care and one on a ventilator.
Meanwhile, 33 more people have recovered from the coronavirus, bringing total recoveries to 5,495. That means there are 929 active confirmed and “probable” cases in the state, which is up from 859 on Thursday. It’s the highest number of active cases yet recorded in Maine.
A majority of the cases — 3,872 — have been in Mainers under age 50, while more cases have been reported in women than men, according to the Maine CDC.
As of Friday, there have been 626,890 negative test results out of 634,829 overall. About 1.2 percent of all tests have come back positive, Maine CDC data show.
The coronavirus has hit hardest in Cumberland County, where 2,589 cases have been reported and where the bulk of virus deaths — 70 — have been concentrated. Other cases have been reported in Androscoggin (868), Aroostook (66), Franklin (80), Hancock (73), Kennebec (350), Knox (88), Lincoln (64), Oxford (169), Penobscot (305), Piscataquis (10), Sagadahoc (86), Somerset (183), Waldo (154), Washington (61) and York (1,420) counties.
As of Friday evening, the coronavirus had sickened 9,018,524 people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as caused 229,356 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.