The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 91 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death, contributing to an ongoing rise in infections that brought the seven-day average of new daily cases to 79.9.

Saturday’s numbers dropped Hancock County out of the “substantial” transmission range that is the standard of the Maine CDC and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for recommending masks for vaccinated people in some indoor situations. Somerset and Waldo counties remain above that benchmark, however, with Waldo classifying as “high” community transmission, even more serious than “substantial.”

Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 70,463 on Saturday. Of those, 51,410 have been confirmed by testing and 19,053 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The 14-day average was 70.6 daily cases.

Nine hundred people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began. The Maine CDC did not provide demographic information about the person reported Saturday to have died.

Hancock County reached the “substantial” transmission level on Friday, and sank back down on Saturday. This past week, one public health expert in Maine warned that the way these transmission rates are calculated means that the status of counties can change very quickly, leading to confusing recommendations.

“They use some excellent methodology,” Dr. Dora Anne Mills said of the U.S. CDC, “except that it is really geared toward urban areas and not rural areas.”

Mills serves as chief health improvement officer at MaineHealth and is a former director of the Maine CDC.

Under the federal CDC’s recommendation, which the Maine CDC adopted this past week, vaccinated people should wear masks in indoor public settings when they’re in counties with substantial levels of transmission or higher. Unvaccinated people are recommended to wear masks indoors regardless.

Maine as of Friday had recorded 656 “breakthrough” cases, which occur when a fully vaccinated person contracts COVID-19. Unvaccinated people still make up the vast majority of new cases, and COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness even if a vaccinated person catches the disease.

By Saturday morning, Maine had given 815,498 people the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 68.86 percent are now fully vaccinated. 

County by county as of Saturday, there had been 8,497 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,984 in Aroostook, 17,531 in Cumberland, 1,416 in Franklin, 1,424 in Hancock, 6,739 in Kennebec, 1,195 in Knox, 1,114 in Lincoln, 3,697 in Oxford, 6,506 in Penobscot, 606 in Piscataquis, 1,487 in Sagadahoc, 2,341 in Somerset, 1,126 in Waldo, 964 in Washington and 13,834 in York.

By age, 19 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.2 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 13.4 percent were in their 40s, 14.5 percent were in their 50s, 10.2 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.

Maine hospitals had 37 patients with COVID-19 on Saturday, of whom 17 were in intensive care and eight were on ventilators.

Around the world on Saturday evening, there were 197.6 million known cases of COVID-19 and 4.2 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 34.9 million cases and 613,110 deaths.


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