The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 214 new cases of the coronavirus and five additional deaths, ending a week when Mainers flocked to a new vaccine registry and a new COVID-19 variant was detected in the state.

Health officials on Friday reported the first case of a variant from Brazil, found in a Franklin County resident with no recent travel history, indicating the variant is likely already in the community. And earlier in the week, a statewide vaccine registry saw over 30,000 signups in just a few days.

Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 49,653 on Saturday. Of those, 38,221 have been confirmed by testing and 11,432 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 194.4 on Saturday.

Seven hundred thirty-six people have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in Maine. The Maine CDC released generalized information about the five people reported Saturday to have died, without correlating by county, age or gender. Three were from Kennebec County and one each was from Androscoggin and Piscataquis. Three were women and two were men. One was in their 40s, two in their 60s, one in their 70s and one 80 or older.

Saturday’s case count was a drop from Friday, when Maine saw its highest case total since late February: 253. But it was the fourth straight day of more than 200 new cases.

Cumberland and York counties saw the largest growth in cases since the previous Saturday, with 284 and 294 cases, respectively. Penobscot County came next, with 182 over the past week, and Androscoggin and Kennebec counties were not far behind.

When a new variant of COVID-19 is detected in Maine, the state CDC conducts a strict contact tracing program to see where it may have come from. The Franklin County resident infected with the Brazilian variant hadn’t traveled recently, indicating that it’s already spreading within the community.

Immunologists have raised concerns about this variant because it appears to be resistant to COVID-19 antibodies, meaning people who have already had the disease can more easily be reinfected. Many of the COVID-19 variants are also more contagious.

The “soft launch” of Maine’s statewide vaccine registration system on Tuesday drew more than 30,000 signups in the first few days. The system, designed by the same company that put together California’s massive registration center, went live at vaccinateme.maine.gov earlier this past week.

Maine’s new registration system will not replace registration and scheduling systems already run by medical providers such as Northern Light Health and MaineHealth, a Maine CDC official said. Some providers, however, said they planned eventually to switch over to the state’s system.

Mainers 50 and older now are eligible for shots, and all residents 16 and older will be on April 19.

As of Saturday, 404,818 Mainers had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 250,588 had received their final dose. Out of Maine’s population of 1.3 million, 30.12 percent have received their first dose, according to Maine CDC statistics.

County by county as of Saturday, there had been 5,209 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,387 in Aroostook, 13,779 in Cumberland, 976 in Franklin, 1,025 in Hancock, 4,204 in Kennebec, 795 in Knox, 647 in Lincoln, 2,387 in Oxford, 4,519 in Penobscot, 377 in Piscataquis, 962 in Sagadahoc, 1,353 in Somerset, 689 in Waldo, 760 in Washington and 10,475 in York.

By age, 16.2 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.1 percent were in their 20s, 14.4 percent were in their 30s, 13.2 percent were in their 40s, 15.2 percent were in their 50s, 11.5 percent were in their 60s, 6.2 percent were in their 70s, and 5.2 percent were 80 or older.

Of the 78 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday, 26 were in intensive care and eight were on ventilators. The state had 103 intensive care unit beds available of a total 368, and 248 ventilators available of 319. There were also 446 alternative ventilators.

Around the world late Saturday afternoon, there were 126.4 million known cases of COVID-19 and over 2.77 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 30.2 million cases and 548,765 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: