Another four Mainers have died as health officials on Wednesday reported 158 new coronavirus cases across the state.
Wednesday’s report brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Maine to 9,519. Of those, 8,599 have been confirmed positive, while 960 were classified as “probable cases,” according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The agency revised Tuesday’s cumulative total to 9,361, down from 9,363, meaning there was a net increase of 156 over the previous day’s report, state data show. As the Maine CDC continues to investigate previously reported cases, some are determined to have not been the coronavirus, or coronavirus cases not involving Mainers. Those are removed from the state’s cumulative total. The Bangor Daily News reports on the number of new cases reported to the Maine CDC in the previous 24 hours, rather than the increase of daily cumulative cases.
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New cases were reported in Androscoggin (17), Cumberland (31), Franklin (7), Hancock (11), Kennebec (16), Knox (1), Lincoln (4), Oxford (4), Penobscot (18), Piscataquis (3), Sagadahoc (1), Somerset (5), Waldo (4), Washington (3) and York (29) counties, state data show. Information about where four additional cases were reported wasn’t immediately available
Only one county — Aroostook — reported no new cases.
The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is 191.7, up from 190 a day ago, up from 164.7 a week ago and up from 30.9 a month ago.
Since the latest surge in virus transmission began a little more than three weeks ago, Maine has seen nearly 3,500 new cases and 24 deaths. It took Maine until early July to record as many cases, four months after health officials confirmed the virus’ presence here.
Health officials have warned Mainers that “forceful and widespread” community transmission is being seen throughout the state. Five counties are seeing high community transmission: Franklin, Knox, Somerset, Waldo and Washington counties.
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.
The statewide death toll now stands at 170. The latest deaths involved a woman in her 90s from Knox County, a man in his 80s from Kennebec County, a woman in her 80s from York County and a man in his 90s from York County. Nearly all deaths have been in Mainers over age 60.
So far, 600 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Of those, 85 people are currently hospitalized, with 30 in critical care and 10 on ventilators.
Meanwhile, 204 more people have recovered from the coronavirus, bringing total recoveries to 7,229. That means there are 2,120 active confirmed and “probable” cases in the state, which is down from 2,172 on Tuesday. It’s the first decline in the active case count Maine has seen since the latest surge began in late October.
A majority of the cases — 5,654 — have been in Mainers under age 50, while more cases have been reported in women than men, according to the Maine CDC.
As of Wednesday, there have been 776,159 negative test results out of 787,840 overall. About 1.4 percent of all tests have come back positive, Maine CDC data show.
As of Tuesday, there have been 230 cases of COVID-19 in students at Pre-K-12 schools in the last 30 days — 205 confirmed and 25 probable. Fourteen schools currently have open outbreaks with the most cases being nine at Thornton Academy in Saco.
There are currently 43 known cases among students, faculty and staff in the University of Maine System out of 30,000 individuals, according to UMS spokesperson Dan Demeritt.
Thirty-one cases are at UMaine with two new cases involving commuter students and one employee completing isolation; One case is associated with University of Maine at Augusta; One case is associated with University of Maine at Machias; One case was announced at the University of Maine at Presque Isle involving a student living in a residence hall through the school’s asymptomatic testing program; And nine cases are associated with the University of Southern Maine with one non-resident student completing isolation.
Five of the 43 cases at UMS are residence hall students with two at UMaine, one at UMPI and two at USM.
On Tuesday, officials at the University of Maine at Presque Isle announced that the first known cases of COVID-19 at the school was declared a false positive. The Vault PCR test that the university uses has a 1 percent false positive rate nationally.
The coronavirus has hit hardest in Cumberland County, where 3,361 cases have been reported and where the bulk of virus deaths — 70 — have been concentrated. Other cases have been reported in Androscoggin (1,248), Aroostook (88), Franklin (170), Hancock (188), Kennebec (619), Knox (172), Lincoln (117), Oxford (252), Penobscot (533), Piscataquis (28), Sagadahoc (123), Somerset (366), Waldo (199), Washington (159) and York (1,890) counties. Information about where an additional six cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.
As of Wednesday evening, the coronavirus had sickened 11,485,176 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 250,029 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.