The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 542 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths as vaccine eligibility appeared likely to expand to young children in the next few weeks. The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Maine edged higher.

People as young as 12 are now eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and states will soon start reserving smaller doses for younger children, with the likely approval soon of shots for children between 5 and 11. That’s about 28 million children across the country, a population that’s at lower risk for serious illness and death than older adults – but still some risk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 540 children have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.

Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 97,725 on Saturday. Of those, 69,647 have been confirmed by testing and 28,078 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. Saturday’s case numbers brought the seven-day average of new daily cases to 396.7, and the 14-day average to 446.9.

One thousand ninety-five people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began, and 169 people on Saturday were hospitalized with the disease around the state, three more than on Friday. Information about the two people reported Saturday to have died wasn’t available from the Maine CDC.

This past week, an advisory panel with the Food and Drug Administration also recommended booster shots of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least two months after the initial dose. All three vaccines available in the U.S. – Pfizer, Moderna and J&J – are effective against COVID-19, but experts had some concern that the J&J vaccine gave less protection than the others, especially against the more virulent delta variant.

By Saturday morning, Maine had given 892,881 people the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 75.4 percent are now fully vaccinated.

Maine as of Friday had recorded 6,680 “breakthrough” cases, which occur when a fully vaccinated person contracts COVID-19. Unvaccinated people still account for the vast majority of cases, and are also much more likely to have more serious illness if they do catch the disease. By comparison, there have been 61,999 total cases since COVID-19 vaccines became available to Mainers.

 

County by county as of Saturday, there had been 10,339 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 3,653 in Aroostook, 21,238 in Cumberland, 2,114 in Franklin, 2,591 in Hancock, 9,299 in Kennebec, 1,833 in Knox, 1,719 in Lincoln, 4,815 in Oxford, 11,665 in Penobscot, 1,260 in Piscataquis, 1,889 in Sagadahoc, 4,015 in Somerset, 2,275 in Waldo, 1,702 in Washington and 17,310 in York.

By age, 20.8 percent of patients were under 20, while 17.7 percent were in their 20s, 15.3 percent were in their 30s, 13.2 percent were in their 40s, 13.6 percent were in their 50s, 9.9 percent were in their 60s, 5.4 percent were in their 70s, and 4 percent were 80 or older.

Of the 169 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday, 60 were in intensive care and 31 were on ventilators. The state’s hospitals had 43 intensive care unit beds available of a total 340, and 200 ventilators available of 305.

Around the world on Saturday afternoon, there were 240.2 million known cases of COVID-19 and 4.89 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 44.9 million cases and 724,105 deaths.

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