Martha Gonzalez and Chris Fuller dance to live music being played in Post Office Park in downtown Portland on Aug. 14. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Health officials added 25 new cases of COVID-19 to Maine’s total Wednesday, continuing a slight upward trend over the last week.

On the positive side, there were no additional deaths for the seventh time in the last eight days.

Maine has now tracked 4,234 confirmed and probable cases since mid-March, as well as 127 deaths related to COVID-19. There have been 3,662 recoveries, which puts the number of active cases at 445, an increase of eight since Tuesday.

The seven-day average number of cases has been rising steadily – from about 15 on Aug. 6 to 24 on Wednesday – but Maine’s cases still remain low compared to other states.

The United States has seen more than 5.5 million cases and 165,000 COVID-19 related deaths – both totals far and away larger than any other country.

No new cases have been associated with an outbreak at a wedding reception in Millinocket on Aug. 7. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is still investigating to determine how that outbreak started. Of the new cases Wednesday, eight were in Penobscot County, where Millinocket and surrounding towns are. Twelve were in York County.

According to the Millinocket Regional Hospital, which conducted testing, 28 people associated with that wedding have tested positive for COVID-19. Those infected were a mix of people who attended and those who had close contact with an attendee. All who tested positive were Maine residents; none were employees of the Big Moose Inn, where the wedding reception took place. The state is still investigating whether or not the venue violated any of the state’s guidelines for large gatherings, which are limited to 50 people if held indoors. The CDC has said approximately 65 people attended the wedding.

So far, 403 people have been hospitalized at some point in Maine, but the state has not seen a surge in hospitalizations since peaking in late May. As of Tuesday, there were nine people in the hospital, two of them in intensive care. None of those associated with the Millinocket outbreak have been hospitalized.

Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah said Tuesday that although the state has done a good job keeping the virus at bay, the wedding outbreak was a reminder of the need to stay vigilant and to continue wearing face coverings in public and physically distancing whenever possible.

“Any gains can be eroded in a matter of weeks,” he said.

Some states are seeing spikes in cases related to the opening of public schools and colleges and universities. Maine’s public school season is still a couple weeks away but districts across the state are wrestling with how best to bring students back safely.

 


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