MaineHealth Nurse Ellie Roberts fills syringes with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during the final day of the vaccination clinic. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

State health officials Wednesday reported that an individual from Androscoggin County was one of two deaths from COVID-19. A man and a woman, one in their 60s and one in their 70s, were the first deaths from the disease recorded in the state in the past week. The other individual was from Somerset County.

The 61 new cases of COVID-19 recorded Wednesday are a significant decline from the most recent surge when the number of new cases regularly topped 100 to 200 per day, but it is still an increase from earlier this week. Fourteen of the new cases were from Androscoggin County and two from Oxford County. There were no new cases in Franklin County.

The 39 new cases reported Tuesday may have also been a function of the three-day weekend, when fewer people were getting tested or the holiday delayed some test results.

Hospitalizations are also continuing to trend downward. Eighty-seven people were hospitalized with COVID-19 midweek, 29 of whom were in critical care units and 18 of those were on a ventilator.

“Things are for the first time in months heading in a favorable, encouraging direction,” Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director, said Wednesday in a news briefing.

Lewiston’s two hospitals – Central Maine Medical Center and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center both recorded the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in the single digits.


At CMMC, there were eight inpatients listed in noncritical care, an increase of one since Tuesday. There were no patients with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit or connected to a ventilator for the third straight day. The last time there were no  patients in critical care was mid-March.

St. Mary’s had six patients Wednesday, five of whom were in noncritical care. The critical care patient was also connected to a ventilator.

“Those are all good signs that the virus is on the run but not out of sight,” Shah said.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases Wednesday was the same as Tuesday in Androscoggin County at 11.3 cases. Franklin and Oxford counties’ rolling average of new cases dropped to three- and seven-month lows, respectively.

Franklin County saw an average of 1.1 new cases per day over the past week. The last time the county’s average case count dropped below that was Feb. 23, when there was an average of 0.7 cases per day.

And in Oxford County, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases was 4.7 Wednesday, a low not seen there since Nov. 11, 2020.


The tri-county area remains in the bottom half of Maine’s 16 counties in terms of getting shots into arms, with less than 50% of all residents getting either their first or second injections in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties.

Statewide, 53.4% of all residents have gotten their first shot and 52.4% have finished their vaccination series as of Wednesday. Cumberland County has the highest vaccination rate in the state, with more than 65% of residents having gotten at least one shot.

Still, Maine’s vaccination rates statewide and even at a county level are outpacing much of the rest of the country.

“Other states are trying to get where Maine is right now but we’ve got more work to do,” Shah said.

Shah also announced Wednesday two additional stops for the Federal Emergency Management Agency mobile vaccination unit before the state retires that resource. The unit is in Calais and goes to Madawaska next. It goes to Portland next week and Old Orchard Beach the following week, it’s last stop for first-dose administrations.

“Our goal is to maximize the resources that we have,” Shah said. “The mobile vaccination unit can administer up to 500 shots a day and we want to position it at sites in the state where it can do that.”


The state is still evaluating whether the mobile unit run by Falmouth-based Promerica Health will continue to new locations and where. It is circling back to previous stops to administer second doses.

“Every person who gets vaccinated is a potential chain of transmission that gets cut off,” Shah said. “The more vaccinated we all are, the less room the virus has to run.”

Lambrew also announced a new testing initiative aimed at those not fully vaccinated in the hospitality, retail and other “public-facing industries” to receive a free Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen test up to twice a week at a Walgreens pharmacy and other locations across the state.

“While 64% of Maine residents age 20 and older have been fully vaccinated, nearly 400,000 remain at risk of serious illness or death from this highly contagious disease,” Lambrew said. “Testing remains critical to keeping our businesses open and our communities healthy as we get about our summer.”

Rapid antigen testing was previously recommended only for those with symptoms, close contacts of confirmed cases or when provided by employers, Lambrew said.

For a list of testing and vaccination sites, visit the state’s COVID-19 website at

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