The entire state continued to be coded red or orange for COVID-19 transmission on Sunday, which means rates are high enough that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone wear a mask inside public places, even if they are fully vaccinated.

It is a recommendation, not a mandate. Maine lifted the state mask mandate for indoor public places in May.

The CDC has four color coded transmission levels: blue which is low transmission; yellow which is moderate; orange which is substantial, and red which is high. The U.S. CDC defines high transmission as at least 100 cases per 100,000 people.

On Sunday the state reported 325 people hospitalized with COVID-19, two more than on Saturday. The number of patients in critical care units was unchanged at 104. There were 48 people on ventilators Sunday compared to 40 on Saturday.

The number of people hospitalized in Maine with the virus has reached record levels statewide during the past week. The surge has been most dramatic in hospitals serving rural, western Maine, where fewer people are vaccinated. About two-thirds of hospital patients with the virus have not been fully vaccinated, and the percentage is higher among those who are critically ill. In Somerset County, 56.14 percent of all residents are vaccinated, the lowest in Maine. Cumberland continues to have the highest vaccination rate in the state at 77.4 percent.

Maine also continues to see high daily case rates, with a seven-day average well above 600 cases. The Maine CDC does not release new infection numbers on Sundays.

The rate of new infections also is at its highest level of the pandemic, despite Maine’s relatively high overall vaccination rate. Even with nearly 70 percent of Mainers vaccinated, there are still 400,000 residents who have not gotten their shots.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 118,489 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and 1,303 peopled have died with the virus, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control.

Maine has given 912,168 final doses of vaccine, which accounts for 68 percent of everyone in Maine. The state reported the number of children ages 5-11 who have received a first vaccine at 26,399 on Sunday. That age group has only been eligible for a vaccine for a few weeks. COVID cases among children and teens are rising faster than other age groups.

The number of Mainers who have received booster shots keeps climbing, from 280,626 on Saturday to 283,424 on Sunday.

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