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The number of new coronavirus cases in Maine dropped again last week alongside a small dip in testing, leaving the state among one of only two where daily cases are decreasing.
Only 140 new cases of the virus were confirmed over the last week, down from 176 during the previous week. Other metrics continued to show a good outlook for the virus in Maine, with hospitalizations and the positivity rate also declining.
The downward trend in cases puts Maine alongside neighboring New Hampshire as the only two states where the virus is declining, according to the New York Times. A handful of states are seeing case numbers stay roughly constant, while most are seeing cases increase.
Testing numbers dropped slightly, with only 15,000 new viral tests performed compared to more than 15,600 the previous week, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The past week marked the first time in several weeks the testing numbers did not increase.
But the percentage of tests coming back positive continued to decline, with the average daily positivity rate over the last week dropping to 1 percent. It suggests that the continued drop in case numbers was not due to less testing. The overall positivity rate dropped to 3.2 percent.
Although testing dropped slightly, it is expected to expand in the coming weeks. The state announced Tuesday that 18 new “swab-and-send” sites were opening and would send samples from patients who meet the state’s testing criteria to the Maine CDC lab in Augusta.
The Maine-based testing should allow the state to avoid national testing backlogs, said Jeanne Lambrew, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah acknowledged that some Maine residents looking to get tests through private companies have experienced longer wait times due to high national demand in recent weeks.
Coronavirus hospitalizations in Maine also continued to decline over the past week. As of Wednesday, there were just 12 patients hospitalized with the virus here, according to state data. That is the lowest daily hospitalization number since the state began releasing data in April.