A man carries his belongings at Higgins Beach in Scarborough on Monday. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

State health officials reported 24 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as well as an additional death, a woman in her 80s from York County.

There have now been 4,389 confirmed or probable cases since the pandemic reached Maine in mid-March, along with 132 individuals who have died with COVID-19.

In addition to the new cases, 34 more people were classified as recovered, which means the number of active cases dropped to 439, or 14 fewer than Tuesday. The seven-day average Wednesday of 22.9 cases was down slightly from the seven-day average a week ago, 24.6 cases on Aug. 19.

The state continues to investigate an outbreak at an Aug. 7 wedding in Millinocket that has been linked to at least 85 cases and two other outbreaks. Of those, 32 cases were primary cases, meaning people who were at the wedding reception at the Big Moose Inn. That’s roughly half of the 65 people in attendance, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The rest are considered secondary and tertiary cases.

The wedding outbreak has been linked to six cases at Maplecrest Rehabilitation & Living Center in Madison and 18 cases at the York County Jail, which are among the 85 cases.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said Tuesday that a staff member at Maplecrest became infected from someone who was a close contact of a wedding attendee, causing the outbreak at the nursing home.

An employee at York County Jail also attended the wedding, although it’s not clear yet how many cases at the jail can be traced to Millinocket.

The state is still investigating whether an outbreak of three cases at the Sanford Fire Department is connected. The pastor who officiated the wedding is from Sanford and so were other wedding guests.

One person who did not attend the reception but was a close contact of an attendee has died of COVID-19, the Maine CDC has confirmed.

In addition to the state’s relatively low case numbers compared to other states, hospitalizations continue to be low. There have been 412 hospitalizations so far but as of Tuesday, only eight were in the hospital, five in critical care. For perspective, Maine’s rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 has been less than one per 100,000 people. The national average is about 15 per 100,000 people.

Gov. Janet Mills said Tuesday that despite the state’s overall low case numbers, the Millinocket wedding reception illustrates why it’s important to not get “pandemic fatigue” and start socializing like people did pre-pandemic, because one party where people don’t wear masks and physical distance can cause a major outbreak.

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