The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 328 cases of the novel coronavirus and four additional deaths on Saturday as Maine’s senators were preparing to join negotiations for additional COVID-19 relief from the federal government.

Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins are members of the “Gang of 16,” a centrist coalition of senators hoping to influence a $1.9 trillion relief package proposed by newly inaugurated President Biden. The sweeping legislation would include $1,400 checks to individual Americans; funding for states and municipalities, COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution; extended unemployment benefits; rent relief; paid family leave; nutrition programs ,and a $15 hourly national minimum wage.

Collins, a leader of the bipartisan group, says she wants the relief package to focus on fighting COVID-19, and asked that any unrelated provisions – such as the minimum wage, perhaps – be considered separately.

The state’s cumulative coronavirus cases rose to 36,598 on Saturday. Of those, 29,780 have been confirmed by testing and 6,818 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of daily new cases has dipped in the last week, from an all-time peak of 625.4 on Jan. 14 to 485.1 on Saturday.

Five hundred forty-four people have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in Maine. The Maine CDC on Saturday released generalized information about the four people reported to have died, without correlating by person. One of the deceased was a woman, and the others were men. Two were Cumberland County residents, one was from Androscoggin County and another was from Penobscot County. One person was in their 60s, one was in their 70s and two were 80 or older.

 

As of Saturday, Maine had given 83,022 people the first dose of a vaccine against COVID-19, with an additional 21,904 having received a second dose, for a total of 104,926 cumulative doses. One hundred eighty-five people were hospitalized with the disease as of Saturday.

Having distributed vaccines to much of its health care population, Maine now is moving to immunize older residents. The state’s expected vaccine shipment this coming week is 17,575 doses, about 1,000 fewer than this past week. Most added doses will go to hospitals, but an increased percentage are also allotted to outpatient practices such as Martin’s Point that are expected to vaccinate older residents.

Maine public health leaders also are preparing to coordinate with an expanded federal effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccines. The new Biden administration has announced plans to open mass vaccination sites across the country run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Gov. Janet Mills said she welcomed the help.

“The Governor is grateful to the President for his immediate offer to lend a hand and welcomes the new, robust Federal leadership,” Mills’s press secretary, Lindsay Crete, said Friday. “We look forward to collaborating with the Biden Administration and expect to take advantage of every opportunity to expand COVID-19 vaccination in Maine.”

County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 4,009 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,083 in Aroostook, 10,563 in Cumberland, 666 in Franklin, 719 in Hancock, 2,854 in Kennebec, 543 in Knox, 437 in Lincoln, 1,755 in Oxford, 3,146 in Penobscot, 181 in Piscataquis, 695 in Sagadahoc, 1,034 in Somerset, 464 in Waldo, 556 in Washington, and 7,892 in York.

By age, 14.3 percent of patients were under 20, while 18 percent were in their 20s, 14.5 percent were in their 30s, 13.1 percent were in their 40s, 15.5 percent were in their 50s, 11.9 percent were in their 60s, 6.8 percent were in their 70s, and 5.9 percent were 80 or older.

Of the 185 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday, 57 were in intensive care and 19 were on ventilators. The state had 94 intensive care unit beds available of a total 399, and 225 ventilators available of 320. There were also 443 alternative ventilators.

Around the world on Saturday afternoon, there were 98.4 million known cases of COVID-19 and 2.1 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 24.9 million cases and 415,793 deaths.

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