The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 174 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths, a smaller caseload than in recent days, as the state resumed distribution of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

A federal clinic at Biddeford High School delivered shots of J&J with no appointment needed, and will be open again from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. Officials in Maine and around the country had previously ordered a pause in distribution of the J&J vaccine because of a handful of instances, among millions of shots given, when female recipients developed rare blood clots after receiving it.

Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 59,776 on Sunday. Of those, 44,657 have been confirmed by testing and 15,119 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 355.9 on Sunday, a decrease of nearly a hundred compared to last Sunday’s 456.4.

Seven hundred seventy-two people have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in Maine.

Federal agencies last week allowed the resumption of J&J shots after determining that the risk to recipients was low and the vaccine was otherwise effective. Officials in Maine had been relying on the one-dose vaccine to immunize Mainers who are unhoused, live in remote areas or are otherwise hard to reach for a second dose.

Out of 8 million J&J doses given as of Friday, 15 women had developed blood clots. Three have died, and another seven have been hospitalized. All but two of the women were under 50.


Newly released year-end statistics from 2020 reveal that COVID-19 was Maine’s eighth most common cause of death, and the state’s overall death rate rose by 4.5 percent, in great part because of the coronavirus. But nationwide, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death, behind only heart disease and cancer.

Nationally, the death rate in 2020 rose by 15.9 percent over the previous year, according to an analysis released this month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Only Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont have had fewer deaths per capita than Maine. Public health officials here credited the state’s quick and aggressive response at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as its remoteness from the rest of the U.S. – only New Hampshire borders Maine, which otherwise is surrounded by Canada and the ocean.

Meanwhile, Maine officials last week heightened the COVID-19 risk designation for four counties — Androscoggin, Kennebec, Oxford and Somerset – from green to yellow. The change comes with a recommendation that schools there move to hybrid instruction for at least two weeks.

By Sunday morning, Maine had given 606,302 people the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 477,030 had received a final dose. Out of the state’s population of 1.3 million, 45.1 percent had received a first dose.

County by county as of Sunday, there had been 6,891 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,619 in Aroostook, 15,837 in Cumberland, 1,195 in Franklin, 1,221 in Hancock, 5,467 in Kennebec, 948 in Knox, 808 in Lincoln, 3,128 in Oxford, 5,267 in Penobscot, 434 in Piscataquis, 1,224 in Sagadahoc, 1,812 in Somerset, 815 in Waldo, 824 in Washington and 12,283 in York.

By age, 17.6 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.6 percent were in their 20s, 14.7 percent were in their 30s, 13.3 percent were in their 40s, 14.9 percent were in their 50s, 10.7 percent were in their 60s, 5.6 percent were in their 70s, and 4.5 percent were 80 or older.

Maine hospitals had 116 patients with COVID-19 on Sunday, of whom 48 were in intensive care and 20 were on ventilators. There were 92 intensive care unit beds available of a total 385, and 240 ventilators available of 319. Maine also had 451 alternative ventilators.

Around the world on Sunday night, there were over 146.7 million known cases of COVID-19 and 3.1 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 32 million cases and 572,194 deaths.

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