State reports 199 new COVID-19 cases and 1 additional death

State health officials reported 199 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the third straight day of less than 200, and one additional death.

The seven-day daily case average fell to 246, from 307 two weeks ago and from 459 cases this time last month. Since the pandemic began, there have been 65,914 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and 803 deaths. Despite passing 800 deaths in Maine over the weekend, only four other states have seen fewer deaths, even though Maine has the highest percentage of older residents.

Hospitalizations had not been updated Monday morning, but as of Sunday there were 111 individuals in the hospital with COVID-19, the lowest daily total in more than three weeks. Of those, 44 were in critical care and 24 were on ventilators.

As for vaccinations, Maine has now administered 672,281 first doses, representing 50 percent of the state’s population, and 635,139 final doses, or 47 percent of all residents. Maine still ranks ranks tops among all states in percentage of residents fully vaccinated, according to a Bloomberg tracker, even though vaccinations have slowed in recent weeks.

Other vaccine trackers may give different results because they use other population figures, but all generally place the New England states at the top for vaccination rates.

Among residents age 60 or older, 81 percent have gotten their final shots, which is welcome news since they has been at highest risk of serious illness or death. But among those between the ages of 16 and 49, just 45 percent have gotten first doses and only 38 percent are fully vaccinated. Many pockets of rural Maine still have a fair amount of hesitancy or resistance, which could make reaching herd immunity an impossibility.

Gov. Janet Mills announced last week that, as of May 24, all Mainers who have been fully vaccinated can stop wearing masks in most indoor and outdoor public settings. Capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements for businesses also will be lifted on that date.

Unvaccinated people will still be asked to wear masks under the revised state mandate, and since eligibility extends only to people 12 and older, that includes young children.

This story will be updated

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