The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 42 new cases of the novel coronavirus and no additional deaths, raising case numbers slightly as the state continues to reopen.

The newest numbers bring Maine’s total cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, to 2,524. Of that cumulative number, 2,253 cases have been confirmed by testing and another 271 are considered “probable” cases.

Subtracting numbers of people who have recovered – 1,845 – and died, there were 581 active cases on Saturday. Deaths remain level, at 98.

Maine’s leaders are cautiously hopeful about coronavirus statistics as the state continues to reopen for business. The state’s seven-day average of daily new cases declined this past week, from 52.6 on May 26 to 36.6 on Friday, and active cases fell from 612 on Thursday to 587 on Friday.

Still, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said Thursday that Maine still has “a ways to go” before reaching a desired 2 percent positive rate for coronavirus tests – a benchmark achieved in South Korea, which built one of the world’s most effective pandemic responses. The rate of positive tests for COVID-19, compared to the total that includes negative and inconclusive results, has fallen to just under 5 percent in Maine after wavering between 5 and 6 percent in recent months.

 

This past week, Maine’s largest hospital saw a dramatic decrease in coronavirus patients as many people either died or recovered. Hospitalizations at Maine Medical Center in Portland fell from 34 to 10 over the week ending Thursday, back to levels not seen since March.

Patient counts in most of Maine’s other hospitals remained flat, however.

The coronavirus pandemic remained a partisan flashpoint in Maine this past week, as President Trump arrived Friday in Guilford to tour a plant that manufactures testing swabs.

At Puritan Medical Products, the Republican president praised plant workers and attacked Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, calling her a “dictator” over her pandemic control measures. Mills said Trump’s remarks reminded her of other “loud men” she had heard through her career who “talk tough to disguise their weakness.”

County by county on Saturday, there were 346 cases in Androscoggin, 10 in Aroostook, 1,290 in Cumberland, 36 in Franklin, 12 in Hancock, 130 in Kennebec, 21 in Knox, 20 in Lincoln, 32 in Oxford, 101 in Penobscot, one in Piscataquis, 30 in Sagadahoc, 22 in Somerset, 52 in Waldo, one Washington and 420 in York.

By age, 5.8 percent of patients were under 20, while 14.3 percent were in their 20s, 14.8 percent were in their 30s, 15.3 percent were in their 40s, 17.4 percent were in their 50s, 12.9 percent were in their 60s, 9.5 percent were in their 70s, and 10 percent were 80 or older.

Women still make up the majority of cases, at 51.4 percent.

Maine’s hospitals had 35 patients with COVID-19 on Saturday, continuing a decline from a late May spike in coronavirus hospitalizations. Of those patients, 14 were in intensive care and seven were on ventilators.

Across the state, there were 145 intensive care unit beds available of a total 397, and 242 ventilators available of 316. Maine also had 441 alternative ventilators.

Around the world on Saturday, there were 6.9 million cases of COVID-19 and 399,000 deaths. The United States had 1.9 million cases and 111,000 deaths.

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