In this Nov. 30, 2020, file photo, city employee Jon Breen talks on his phone wile taking a break from laying down the basketball court floor in the Portland Expo. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Maine passed another grim milestone in the pandemic Thursday with a record-high 349 new coronavirus cases and two deaths reported across the state.

A man in his 60s from Hancock County and a man in his 50s from Penobscot County have succumbed to the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to 220. Not all deaths reported Thursday occurred in the past 24 hours, and the death total also includes those newly confirmed to have involved the coronavirus. Nearly all deaths have been in Mainers over age 60.

Thursday’s report brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Maine to 12,554. Of those, 11,151 have been confirmed positive, while 1,403 were classified as “probable cases,” the Maine CDC reported.

TRACKING THE CORONAVIRUS IN MAINE

The agency revised Wednesday’s cumulative total to 12,205, down from 12,208, meaning there was a net increase of 346 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.

New cases were reported in Androscoggin (33), Aroostook (10), Cumberland (60), Franklin (8), Hancock (10), Kennebec (37), Knox (1), Lincoln (3), Oxford (51), Penobscot (53), Piscataquis (1), Sagadahoc (7), Somerset (6), Waldo (7), Washington (3) and York (58) counties, state data show. Information about where an additional four cases were reported wasn’t immediately available.

The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is 186.1, up from 169.7 a day ago, down from 220.3 a week ago and up from 90.4 a month ago.

Thursday’s report broke the previous record high for new coronavirus cases — 256 — set only nine days ago. It marked the eighth time in the past 10 days when new cases surpassed 200 and the first time they blew past 300.

Health officials have warned Mainers that “forceful and widespread” community transmission is being seen throughout the state. Every county is seeing high community transmission, which the Maine CDC defines as a case rate of 16 or more cases per 10,000 people.

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.

There are now 95 known cases of coronavirus among more than 30,000 University of Maine System students, faculty and staff, according to UMS spokesperson Dan Demeritt. That’s down from 103 cases on Wednesday.

There are 83 cases at the University of Maine; One case at University of Maine at Augusta; Six cases at University of Maine Farmington; One case at University of Maine at Presque Isle; and four cases at University of Southern Maine. 

The only schools in the UMS with no active cases of coronavirus are University of Maine at Fort Kent, University of Maine at Machias, University of Maine Law School.

In the last 30 days, there have been 338 reported cases of COVID-19 in Pre-K-12 schools. Of those, 304 have been confirmed positive, while 34 were classified as “probable cases,” according to the Maine CDC.

There are currently open outbreaks at 28 schools with Guy E Rowe School in Norway having the highest number of cases at 12.

So far, 740 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. Of those, 144 people are currently hospitalized, with 43 in critical care and 19 on ventilators.

Meanwhile, 169 more people have recovered from the coronavirus, bringing total recoveries to 9,733. That means there are 2,601 active confirmed and “probable” cases in the state, which is up from 2,426 on Wednesday.

A majority of the cases — 7,280 — 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 923,023 negative test results out of 940,132 overall. More than 1.75 percent of all tests have come back positive, Maine CDC data show.

The coronavirus has hit hardest in Cumberland County, where 3,965 cases have been reported and where the bulk of virus deaths — 71 — have been concentrated. Other cases have been reported in Androscoggin (1,643), Aroostook (160), Franklin (239), Hancock (287), Kennebec (876), Knox (213), Lincoln (168), Oxford (418), Penobscot (997), Piscataquis (52), Sagadahoc (165), Somerset (470), Waldo (239), Washington (199) and York (2,462) counties. Information about where an additional case was reported wasn’t immediately available.

As of Thursday evening, the coronavirus had sickened 14,061,616 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 275,256 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

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