The surge of COVID-19 in Franklin County is nearing record levels, with the seven-day average of new cases just short of the all-time high set in late January.

State health officials reported 715 new COVID-19 cases statewide Friday, including 23 in Androscoggin County, 32 in Franklin County and 15 in Oxford County.

There were two additional deaths, a man and a woman, one a resident of Androscoggin County, bringing the current death toll to 90 people, and the first reported death there since Aug. 28.

The other death was a resident of Waldo County. One of the individuals was in their 60s and the other was 80 years or older.

Franklin County recorded an average of 17.9 cases per day over the week ending Friday, which is just short of the all-time record set in late January. The only two days with a higher seven-day average than Friday’s was on Jan. 26, when it was 18 cases, and Jan. 27, when it was 18.3 cases.

Adjusted for population, the seven-day rolling average of new daily cases Friday was 5.97 per 10,000 residents, which is also just behind the records set in late January.

Friday’s average was up 160% compared to one week ago and 525% compared to one month ago.

About 61% of all eligible residents in Franklin County are fully vaccinated, which places it behind much of the rest of the state, including Androscoggin and Oxford counties. About 73% of all eligible Mainers are fully vaccinated, as of Friday.

Community transmission of COVID-19 was considered to be high in every county in Maine except Sagadahoc, which had a substantial level. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor, public settings when community transmission is at a substantial or high level.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases per capita in Androscoggin and Oxford counties was more than half of Franklin County’s average.

As of Friday, state health officials reported an average of 2.85 new cases of COVID-19 per 10,000 residents of Androscoggin County and 2.7 cases per 10,000 residents of Oxford County for the week ending Friday.

Though COVID-19 cases are surging in Franklin County, Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington reported no COVID-19 inpatients as of Friday afternoon.

Patients needing more critical care are often transferred from smaller, community hospitals such as Franklin Memorial to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston or Maine Medical Center in Portland, however.

As of Thursday evening, there were 11 COVID inpatients at CMMC, according to the hospital, and all four of the patients in the intensive care unit were on ventilators.

Statewide, 201 individuals were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday, 76 of whom were in critical care and 34 of whom were on a ventilator. The number of patients in the ICU ON Friday broke the previous single-day record set Sept. 11.

Forty-six out of the 343 critical care beds in the state were available as of Friday, or about 13%.

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