Maine CDC reports one COVID-19 death as case averages dip lower

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 53 cases of COVID-19 and one death, ending a week where Gov. Janet Mills announced she would end the pandemic-era state of emergency on June 30.

Mills’s announcement Friday will end Maine’s mask mandate for public schools and child care facilities, and comes as Maine’s vaccination rate rises ever higher — to 62.8 percent among eligible residents Saturday — and daily case counts stay low.

“Today, we take another important step forward in our return to normal,” Mills said in a statement Friday. “After fifteen long, difficult months, ending the state of civil emergency is a welcome milestone that reflects the progress Maine has made in getting people vaccinated, reducing the spread of the virus and getting back to normal.

Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 68,540 on Saturday. Of those, 50,136 have been confirmed by testing and 18,404 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 55.1, while the 14-day average was 63.5 cases.

Eight hundred forty-five people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began. Information about the person reported Saturday to have died wasn’t yet available from the Maine CDC.

Mills rolled back the restrictions on a day where only 38 new cases were reported, which, except for this past Monday’s total, is the lowest since October.

“Maine people have persevered,” the governor added in her statement. “And although challenges remain, we will get through them together just as we did this past year.”

Hospitalizations are also at a low point, though Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah warned on Friday that remaining COVID-19 hospital patients are “trending younger, and often sicker, requiring longer stays.” Most of those people are also unvaccinated, he said.

Forty-five people were in Maine hospitals with COVID-19 on Friday, with 24 in intensive care and 14 on ventilators. Updated numbers weren’t yet available early Saturday morning.

Shah on Friday said he was planning another visit to the mobile vaccination clinic at Rising Tide Brewery in Portland, along with his dog Quincy. The clinic runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 103 Fox Street, and will offer shots of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for free, without an appointment.

Meanwhile, on Friday, five counties — Aroostook, Knox, Oxford, Piscataquis and Sagadahoc — reported no new cases. In Oxford County, that’s the first time this has happened since December. The seven-day case average there was 3.3 on Friday.

By Saturday morning, Maine had given 731,507 people the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and, with increased distribution of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 744,421 had received a final dose. Out of the state’s population of 1.3 million, 54.4 percent had received a first dose.

Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 62.86 percent are now fully vaccinated.

County by county as of Saturday, there had been 8,355 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,884 in Aroostook, 17,196 in Cumberland, 1,362 in Franklin, 1,370 in Hancock, 6,555 in Kennebec, 1,142 in Knox, 1,075 in Lincoln, 3,620 in Oxford, 6,279 in Penobscot, 573 in Piscataquis, 1,471 in Sagadahoc, 2,257 in Somerset, 1,043 in Waldo, 927 in Washington and 13,431 in York.

By age, 18.8 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.3 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 13.5 percent were in their 40s, 14.5 percent were in their 50s, 10.2 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.

Around the world on Saturday morning, there were 175.3 million known cases of COVID-19 and 3.78 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 33.4 million cases and 599,181 deaths.

This story will be updated.

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