Mainers should now wear masks regardless of their vaccination status in Aroostook County because of rising COVID-19 infections there.
Aroostook County now has 55.18 cases per 100,000 people as of Thursday, up from 43.25 cases the day before.
Those recommendations were already in place in Cumberland (61.02), Lincoln (69.3), Penobscot (67.7), Piscataquis (53.62), Waldo (198.92) and York (52.98) counties, data show.
Meanwhile, Kennebec and Somerset counties were dropped from the list of places where mask recommendations are in effect. Kennebec County saw its case rate fall to 43.58 from 65.32, while Somerset’s fell to 44.15 from 53.96.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status if there is substantial transmission of the virus in their community, defined as 50 or more cases per 100,000 people at a county level.
A few months ago, all Maine counties were above that level. Now most of them are below it, but the relatively small populations of some counties can lead to quick swings in the data.
While Maine is following the CDC’s mask policy for now, Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah suggested earlier this week that the state could abandon it, because of the high fluctuations affecting those mask recommendations. No decision, though, has been made.