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Another four Mainers have died as health officials on Tuesday reported 172 new coronavirus cases across the state. It’s the highest daily death toll reported since June.
Tuesday’s report brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Maine to 8,060, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 7,888 on Monday.
Of those, 7,173 have been confirmed positive, while 887 were classified as “probable cases,” the Maine CDC reports.
New cases were reported in Androscoggin (22), Cumberland (41), Franklin (3), Hancock (6), Kennebec (23), Knox (3), Lincoln (6), Oxford (5), Penobscot (9), Sagadahoc (5), Somerset (14), Waldo (3), Washington (3) and York (24) counties, state data show. Information about where an additional five cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.
Only two counties — Aroostook and Piscataquis — reported no new cases in the previous 24 hours.
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The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is 165.3, up from 160.4 a day ago, 102 a week ago and up from 31 a month ago.
Tuesday’s report of the death toll rise comes amid a statewide surge in new coronavirus cases. Health officials have warned Mainers that “forceful and widespread” community transmission is being seen throughout the state.
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.
Despite the sudden surge in virus transmission, state officials are reluctant to institute a new stay-at-home order similar to what Mainers saw in the pandemic’s early weeks. Health Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said Monday that “nothing is off the table” to stop the spread of the virus, but said a stay-at-home order is not currently under consideration.
Last week, Gov. Janet Mills ordered Mainers to wear face coverings in all public spaces regardless of their distances from others. That move came after she delayed a planned reopening of bars and tasting rooms as cases began to climb statewide.
The latest deaths involved a woman and man in their 90s from York County, a woman in her 80s from Somerset County and a man in his 70s from Kennebec County, bringing the statewide death toll to 156. It’s the highest daily death toll since June 2, when five Mainers died from the virus. Since the early summer, Maine has rarely seen more than a single death at a time. Nearly all deaths have been in Mainers over age 60.
So far, 538 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Of those, 49 people are currently hospitalized, with 14 in critical care and five on ventilators.
Meanwhile, 64 more people have recovered from the coronavirus, bringing total recoveries to 6,100. That means there are 1,804 active confirmed and “probable” cases in the state, which is up from 1,699 on Monday. It’s yet another record high for active cases.
A majority of the cases — 4,760 — have been in Mainers under age 50, while more cases have been reported in women than men, according to the Maine CDC.
As of Tuesday, there have been 706,408 negative test results out of 716,057 overall. Almost 1.3 percent of all tests have come back positive, Maine CDC data show.
The coronavirus has hit hardest in Cumberland County, where 3,039 cases have been reported and where the bulk of virus deaths — 70 — have been concentrated. Other cases have been reported in Androscoggin (1,028), Aroostook (78), Franklin (131), Hancock (113), Kennebec (484), Knox (144), Lincoln (86), Oxford (200), Penobscot (395), Piscataquis (18), Sagadahoc (105), Somerset (300), Waldo (180), Washington (117) and York (1,635) counties. Information about where an additional seven cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.
As of Tuesday morning, the coronavirus had sickened 10,110,552 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 238,251 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.