The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported a small rise in coronavirus cases that more likely reflects a nationwide vacation for testing staff than the overall trend of soaring daily case numbers and hospitalizations.

The Maine CDC reported 22 new cases on Saturday, and one death, after the state lab closed for Thanksgiving. Public health authorities did not report new case numbers on Friday. Although the lab was up and running by Saturday, Maine CDC officials received fewer results from other labs in Maine and elsewhere in the United States, driving down the new case count.

“I can’t speak on behalf of other labs, but the fact that the number of results reported … was considerably lower than on most other days would indicate that few labs in Maine or nationally processed samples,” said Robert Long, spokesman for the Maine CDC.

In the last three weeks, Maine has seen more than 200 new cases on 10 separate days. Hospitalizations also have increased dramatically, up to 125 patients statewide on Saturday, an increase of six since Friday.

Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 11,288 on Saturday. Of those cumulative cases, 10,125 have been confirmed by testing and 1,163 are considered probable cases of COVID-19.

One hundred ninety-one people have died with COVID-19 in Maine, and 8,822 have recovered from the disease. Maine had 2,275 active cases on Saturday.

The person reported Saturday to have died was a Kennebec County man in his 60s, the Maine CDC said.

Saturday’s low case count brought down the seven-day average of new daily cases to 167.4 from Friday’s 221.6.

In response to the weekslong surge in cases, Gov. Janet Mills this past week extended Maine’s state of emergency into late December. She also asked Mainers to avoid traveling for the holidays and follow virus precautions such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distance from others.

The governor also asked for more federal funds to support Maine’s coronavirus prevention and relief efforts. Congressional leaders have signaled that they may consider a relief bill now that national elections are over.

Maine retail outlets observed a comparatively quiet Black Friday this year, avoiding midnight openings and “doorbuster” in-person-only deals that traditionally have drawn large – and sometimes rowdy – crowds.

Online shopping had already been cutting into brick-and-mortar retail, and the danger of coronavirus transmission added incentive to avoid large gatherings. Around dawn on Friday, only a few stores in the Maine Mall area had shoppers waiting in line outside, and most parking lots were empty.

The University of Maine System on Saturday reported 112 active cases across its eight schools, two cases more than on Friday.

Three new cases were detected among students at the University of Maine in Orono, along with another new case in a student at the University of Southern Maine. Two patients were released from isolation Saturday, effectively ending their cases and keeping the daily case growth to two cases.

Across all eight schools, there were 104 active cases at UMaine in Orono, four at the University of Maine at Farmington and two each at USM and the University of Maine at Augusta.

County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1,454 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 129 in Aroostook, 3,730 in Cumberland, 210 in Franklin, 236 in Hancock, 757 in Kennebec, 203 in Knox, 151 in Lincoln, 326 in Oxford, 820 in Penobscot, 41 in Piscataquis, 149 in Sagadahoc, 434 in Somerset, 225 in Waldo, 189 in Washington, and 2,231 in York.

By age, 13 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.4 percent were in their 20s, 15 percent were in their 30s, 13.1 percent were in their 40s, 15.4 percent were in their 50s, 11.6 percent were in their 60s, 7.2 percent were in their 70s, and 6.2 percent were 80 or older.

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

Of the 125 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday, 49 were in intensive care and 18 were on ventilators. The state had 112 intensive care unit beds available of a total 379, and 230 ventilators available of 315. There were also 444 alternative ventilators.

Around the world on Saturday afternoon, there were 62 million known cases of COVID-19 and more than 1.4 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 13.1 million cases and more than 265,000 deaths.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: