The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 159 cases of the novel coronavirus and one additional death as hospitalizations, active cases and most other vital statistics spiraled across the state.

Maine set a new record for daily cases on Friday: 243. That news was accompanied by three deaths, and 66 hospitalizations around the state, as of late Friday morning. On Saturday, Maine’s hospitals had 67 patients with COVID-19.

The rise in hospitalizations is especially concerning because, left uncontrolled, it threatens to overwhelm medical facilities and cause unnecessary deaths, public health experts say. As case numbers surged here and across the country, Gov. Janet Mills this past week reinstated the requirement that Massachusetts visitors receive negative tests or quarantine for 14 days after entering Maine.

The person reported Saturday to have died was a York County woman in her 80s, the Maine CDC said.

Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 8,791 on Saturday, a net increase of 152 cases since Friday. The reported number of new cases on Saturday – 159 – is less than the difference in daily totals because the Maine CDC revises its numbers of cumulative total cases based on how many “probable” cases later test negative, and on the results of contact tracing investigations.

Of those 8,791 cumulative cases, 7,882 have been confirmed by testing and 909 are considered probable cases of COVID-19.

One hundred sixty-three people have died with COVID-19 in Maine, and 6,597 have recovered from the disease. Maine had 2,031 active cases on Saturday, an increase of more than 500 over the past week.

“We are experiencing exponential growth of COVID-19 as a country,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, warned Saturday afternoon on Twitter. “In short: things are bad and getting worse. They will continue on that trajectory before getting better.”

The best way for the average Mainer to make a difference is to wear a mask, Shah said.

Maine’s daily new cases are not the only numbers to hit record highs in recent weeks; hospitalizations have too. The 67 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday compares to the peak of 60 in May.

The geographic distribution of hospitalizations is different this time, however. Whereas last spring’s surge filled southern Maine hospitals, the current surge is driven by hospitalizations in central and eastern Maine.

The sharp rise in cases has stretched the Maine CDC’s ability to trace contacts of infected people, a critical tool to contain the virus. The public health agency recently expanded its number of tracers to 135, however, and says the program is not yet at its limit.

The University of Maine System on Saturday reported 40 active cases of COVID-19 across its eight schools, one fewer than the number of active cases reported on Friday. Three people were released from isolation, effectively ending their cases, but two more tested positive: one at the University of Southern Maine and one at the University of Maine in Orono.

In total, there were 30 active cases at the University of Maine, three at the University of Southern Maine, two at the University of Maine at Augusta, two at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, and one each at the University of Maine at Farmington, the University of Maine at Presque Isle, and the University of Maine at Machias.

Androscoggin County on Friday became the latest Maine region to receive a heightened “yellow” risk designation for schools. Along with Knox, Franklin, Somerset and Washington counties, Androscoggin now is recommended to limit numbers of people in school buildings and restrict extracurricular activities such as school sports.

State officials are watching Cumberland, Hancock, Kennebec and York counties, as well.

County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1,167 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 86 in Aroostook, 3,172 in Cumberland, 145 in Franklin, 165 in Hancock, 556 in Kennebec, 160 in Knox, 103 in Lincoln, 228 in Oxford, 475 in Penobscot, 23 in Piscataquis, 115 in Sagadahoc, 324 in Somerset, 192 in Waldo, 141 in Washington, and 1,738 in York.

By age, 12.8 percent of patients were under 20, while 17.8 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 13.2 percent were in their 40s, 15.7 percent were in their 50s, 11.5 percent were in their 60s, 7.4 percent were in their 70s, and 6.3 percent were 80 or older.

Women still make up a slight majority of cases, at just over 51 percent.

Of the 67 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals as of 11 a.m. Saturday, 23 were in intensive care and seven were on ventilators. The state had 108 intensive care unit beds available of a total 387, and 238 ventilators available of 315. There were also 444 alternative ventilators.

Around the world on Saturday afternoon, there were 53.7 million known cases of COVID-19 and more than 1.3 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 10.8 million cases and over 245,000 deaths.

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