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Another two Maine residents have died from the new coronavirus as confirmed cases continue to climb.
Nirav Shah, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday the latest deaths involved a man in his 80s from Cumberland County and a woman in her 90s from Waldo County, the second death recorded there.
Shah reported that there are now 560 cases spread across 15 of Maine’s counties. That’s up from 537 on Wednesday.
Of those, Shah said that 13 Maine residents have tested positive for the coronavirus outside of the state, but they are included in Maine’s overall total. Additionally, 17 people who are residents of other states but have been diagnosed in Maine, but who are not included in the state’s total of confirmed cases.
That is the standard practice among state disease control agencies, Shah has said.
Shah could not say whether any of those out-of-staters who have tested positive are still in Maine.
Shah noted that 105 Maine residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, while another 202 have fully recovered from it.
A majority of the cases have been in Maine residents over age 50, while they are evenly split between women and men, according to the Maine CDC.
The death toll from the virus in Maine stands at 16.
No outbreak has been reported within the Maine prison system, though the Maine Department of Corrections reported Thursday it has tested 16 inmates. Of those, 15 have come back negative, while another one awaits results. One inmate has been isolated within the system, according to the department.
So far, the coronavirus has hit hardest in Cumberland County, where 269 cases have been confirmed and the bulk of the state’s deaths from the virus have been concentrated. It is one of only two counties — the other is York County, with 132 cases — where “community transmission” has been confirmed, according to Shah.
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. That second condition has not yet been “satisfied” in other counties.
Other cases have been detected in Androscoggin (24), Aroostook (2), Franklin (7), Hancock (3), Kennebec (26), Knox (10), Lincoln (9), Oxford (12), Penobscot (31), Sagadahoc (14), Somerset (5), Waldo (11) and Washington (1) counties. Information about where another four cases were detected was not immediately available Thursday morning.
The only county without a confirmed case is Piscataquis.
Shah said that recent Maine Department of Transportation data show “significant reductions” in traffic on Maine roads, which he called “proof positive” that people are abiding by “social distancing” guidelines and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ recent stay-at-home order.
For example, Shah said that traffic on Interstate 95 in Kittery near the New Hampshire border is down 61 percent, while interstate traffic near the Fore River Parkway in Portland is down 62 percent. Overall, interstate traffic has fallen 53 percent in Maine, while smaller but still significant reductions — between 30 percent and 40 percent — have been recorded on the state’s rural highways, according to Shah.
Shah reiterated that “physical distancing” is “the best vaccine” the state has against the coronavirus.
As of noon Thursday, the coronavirus has sickened 432,596 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 14,831 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
Watch: Why the Maine CDC breaks down coronavirus cases by county, not town