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Maine saw the largest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases Wednesday when health officials reported another 78 cases.
There have now been 1,819 cases across all of Maine’s counties since the outbreak began here in March, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 1,741 on Tuesday.
Of those, 1,632 have been confirmed positive, while 187 are likely positive, according to the Maine CDC.
No new deaths were reported Wednesday, leaving the statewide death toll at 73.
So far, 231 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Of those, 43 people are currently hospitalized, with 24 in critical care and 12 on ventilators, according to the Maine CDC.
Meanwhile, 1,110 people have fully recovered from the virus, meaning there are 636 active and likely cases in the state, according to the Maine CDC. That’s up from 580 on Tuesday.
A majority of the cases have been in Mainers over age 50, while more cases have been reported in women than men, according to the Maine CDC.
As of Wednesday, 40,609 coronavirus tests have been performed in the state. Some individuals have been tested more than once. The state’s rate of positive tests is 5.4 percent, which is substantially lower than many virus hotspots in the U.S., according to Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah. That rate has dropped over the past week, he said, showing that the state is casting a relatively broad net in its virus testing.
Wednesday’s report eclipsed the previous record for new cases set on May 7 when 76 were reported. That spike had surpassed the record of 65 cases set on April 13. It comes as the Maine CDC tripled the testing capacity at the state laboratory to handle an influx of specimens from anyone suspected of having the coronavirus. But spokespeople from health care systems across the state told the BDN they will — for now — continue to abide by stricter testing protocols, which prioritize those with symptoms who are in high-risk groups. That could change, though, as health care systems determine how far their testing supplies will stretch.
The coronavirus has hit hardest in Cumberland County, where 891 cases have been confirmed and where the bulk of virus deaths — 38 — have been concentrated. It is one of four counties — the others are Androscoggin, Penobscot and York, with 185, 95 and 316 cases, respectively — where “community transmission” has been confirmed, according to the Maine CDC.
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 Aroostook (8), Franklin (34), Hancock (11), Kennebec (121), Knox (20), Lincoln (17), Oxford (18), Piscataquis (1), Sagadahoc (28), Somerset (20) Waldo (50) and Washington (2) counties. Information about where another two cases were detected wasn’t immediately available Wednesday.
As of Wednesday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,532,212 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 92,128 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
Watch: Why Maine is tracking number of tests instead of people tested