Maine reported another 321 cases of the coronavirus and two additional deaths Friday following two back-to-back days of record numbers.

To date there have been 21,547 cases of COVID-19 reported in the state since the pandemic began, including 18,517 confirmed and 3,030 probable cases. A total of 1,020 people have been hospitalized at some point and 319 people have died.

More than 700 new cases of coronavirus were reported each day on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday’s numbers come as Maine is preparing to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines with the arrival of additional doses expected next week that will go toward continued efforts to vaccinate health care workers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities. More than 15,700 people have been vaccinated to date.

The seven-day average of daily new cases is now at 458, up from 447 daily new cases on average one week ago and a seven-day average of 215 new cases per day one month ago.

On Friday there were 185 people hospitalized with COVID-19, an increase of six people from Thursday. Fifty-four people were in critical care and 16 people were on a ventilator.

On Friday, Maine hospitals had 110 available critical care beds out of a total of 377 and 233 available ventilators out of a total of 318, not including another 443 alternative ventilators. Demographic information on the two deaths reported Friday was not available.

Androscoggin County currently has the highest case rate of Maine’s 16 counties, with 226 cases per 10,000 people to date followed by Cumberland County with a case rate of 220 per 10,000 people. Compared to other states Maine continues to be doing well. Only five states and Washington, D.C., currently have lower seven-day averages of new cases, according to The New York Times.

Despite warnings from health officials, thousands of Maine residents and millions of New Englanders were expected to be traveling over the holidays. Thanksgiving travel and gatherings are believed to have contributed to the current surge the nation is seeing.

In a news conference Wednesday, Gov. Janet Mills urged Mainers to do everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus, including putting off travel and staying away from holiday parties.

“We need everyone to wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands and avoid gatherings,” Mills said. “The biggest gift we can give each other this holiday season is not a present under the tree or a hug shared by a loved one. The best gift we can give, and the best gift we can receive, is the gift of health, the gift of life.”

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