In this March 2, 2021, file photo, a sign lists symptoms that would require a rescheduled appointment at a COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the Portland Expo in Portland. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Younger Mainers account for a growing number of COVID-19 infections in the state, raising concerns that they could fuel another spike.

People in their 20s make up the highest percentage of new cases, about 18 percent, and those under 20 account for nearly 16 percent, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Together, those groups account for about a third of new infections, compared with residents over 70, who account for nearly 12 percent of cases, but 85 percent of deaths.

There are signs pointing to another wave of COVID-19 cases and young people are most likely to facilitate that spike, Dr. James Jarvis, COVID-19 incident commander for Northern Light Health, told the Portland Press Herald.

While younger people aren’t as likely to suffer from severe illness, they can still spread the virus to others, including at-risk groups, often while having no symptoms themselves, Jarvis said.

“If young people are infected and then go visit [others], that’s just one step away from an outbreak occurring.”

Story by David Sharp and Patrick Whittle.