A shopper wears a mask to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus while checking out sweatshirts on display in the Old Port, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Portland. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Twenty-four new cases were reported Sunday in Maine amid a statewide surge in virus transmission.

Sunday’s report brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Maine to 6,715. Of those, 5,944 have been confirmed positive, while 771 were classified as “probable cases,” according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency revised Saturday’s cumulative total to 6,691, up from 6,668 meaning there was an increase of 24 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.

On Saturday, a disruption in the data delivery system that reports COVID-19 results to the Maine CDC resulted in Sunday’s update to include fewer cases than would have been reported in the previous 24 hours, Maine CDC officials said. 

As a result, Sunday’s number of new cases does not reflect 24 hours of data. Monday’s update will reflect cases not included in Sunday’s update as well as any additional cases identified on Sunday. The disruption did not affect Sunday’s updates on recoveries, deaths and hospitalizations, officials said.

New cases were reported in Penobscot (1), Hancock (1), Piscataquis (1), Somerset (2), Kennebec (1), Lincoln (4), Androscoggin (1), Cumberland (4) and York (3).  Information about where an additional four cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.

Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.

tracking the coronavirus in maine

The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is 77.7, up from 41.3 a week ago and up from 31.9 a month ago. That surpasses Friday’s and Thursday’s seven-day averages of and 70.1 and 58.9, respectively. However, it is below Saturday’s average of 82. Before this week, the previous record high was recorded in late May, when it topped out at 52.6, according to Maine CDC data.

Sunday’s report breaks Saturday’s record of the largest number of active cases — 1,004 — seen in Maine since the pandemic reached here in March.

In the past week, Maine has seen records break in single-day new coronavirus cases, seeing an all time high of 129 cases on Saturday after the agency revised its totals. That surpassed a record-high of 119 on Friday, 94 on Thursday and Wednesday, when 87 cases were reported, Maine CDC data show. Maine had seen seven 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.

No new deaths were reported on Sunday, leaving the statewide death toll to 147. The death announced on Saturday was the first the state had seen since Oct. 17. Nearly all deaths have been in Mainers over age 60.

So far, 488 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, 37 more people have recovered from the coronavirus, bringing total recoveries to 5,554. That means there are 1,014 active confirmed and “probable” cases in the state, which is up from 1,004 on Saturday.

A majority of the cases — 3,952 — 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 had 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 2,638 cases have been reported and where the bulk of virus deaths — 70 — have been concentrated. Other cases have been reported in Androscoggin (876), Aroostook (67), Franklin (86), Hancock (74), Kennebec (355), Knox (94), Lincoln (65), Oxford (179), Penobscot (311), Piscataquis (11), Sagadahoc (88), Somerset (199), Waldo (154), Washington (68) and York (1,446) counties. The location of four cases were not immediately available Sunday.

As of Sunday morning, the coronavirus had sickened 9,127,402 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 230,566 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

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