Another Mainer has died as health officials on Thursday reported 217 new coronavirus cases across the state.
Thursday’s report brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Maine to 9,734. Of those, 8,732 have been confirmed positive, while 1,002 were classified as “probable cases,” according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The agency revised Wednesday’s cumulative total to 9,517, down from 9,519, meaning there was a net increase of 215 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 (21), Aroostook (1), Cumberland (50), Franklin (9), Hancock (4), Kennebec (11), Knox (2), Lincoln (10), Oxford (15), Penobscot (39), Sagadahoc (5), Somerset (5), Waldo (2), Washington (10) and York (31) counties, state data show. Information about where an additional two cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.
Only one county — Piscataquis — reported no new cases.
The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is 194.3, up from 193.3 a day ago, up from 173.1 a week ago and up from 31 a month ago.
A woman in her 40s from Kennebec County is the latest Mainer to die from the coronavirus, bringing the statewide death toll to 171. Nearly all deaths have been in Mainers over age 60.
Thursday’s report comes as the Maine CDC announced it will no longer investigate suspected coronavirus cases until confirmed by testing. That could result in fewer “probable” cases being reported, but Director Nirav Shah said Wednesday it doesn’t mean the virus poses a lesser risk.
That move is partly to cope with a more than three-week-long surge in new coronavirus cases and as the flu season approaches when Mainers may start to develop similar symptoms to the coronavirus.
Thursday also marked the fifth time in 10 days when more than 200 new cases have been reported. Since this surge began a little more than three weeks ago, the state has seen more than 3,600 new cases. That’s nearly as many as was seen from when the first case was reported on March 12 to July 20.
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.
As of Thursday, 14 Pre-K -12 schools currently have open outbreaks with 230 total cases — 205 confirmed, 25 probable — over the last 30 days. Thornton Academy in Saco has the highest number of cases with nine.
So far, 613 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Of those, 88 people are currently hospitalized, with 35 in critical care and 19 on ventilators.
Meanwhile, 174 more people have recovered from the coronavirus, bringing total recoveries to 7,403. That means there are 2,160 active confirmed and “probable” cases in the state, which is up from 2,120 on Wednesday.
A majority of the cases — 5,806 — have been in Mainers under age 50, while more cases have been reported in women than men, according to the Maine CDC.
As of Thursday, there have been 788,994 negative test results out of 800,980 overall. About 1.45 percent of all tests have come back positive, Maine CDC data show.
The coronavirus has hit hardest in Cumberland County, where 3,415 cases have been reported and where the bulk of virus deaths — 70 — have been concentrated. Other cases have been reported in Androscoggin (1,269), Aroostook (89), Franklin (179), Hancock (192), Kennebec (629), Knox (174), Lincoln (174), Oxford (267), Penobscot (573), Piscataquis (28), Sagadahoc (128), Somerset (370), Waldo (200), Washington (170) and York (1,921) counties. Information about where an additional three cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.
As of Thursday evening, the coronavirus had sickened 11,674,074 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 251,970 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated the number of new cases reported in Androscoggin County over the previous 24 hours.