The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported nine additional coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the lowest daily increase in cases since late April.

The number of deaths among individuals with COVID-19 held steady at 101, according to the latest figures from the Maine CDC.

Maine continues to add new cases daily of the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus, but has yet to see the large spikes happening in some other states despite the gradual reopening of Maine’s economy. For the past week, Maine averaged 30 new COVID-19 cases per day, compared to an average of 33 cases for the week ending June 9 and a peak of 53 cases daily for the week ending May 24.

Tuesday’s nine new cases represent the smallest daily increase since April 27, when eight additional COVID-19 cases were reported, and is only the third single-digit increase since mid-March.

But there were 54 new cases on Friday as well as 36 each on Saturday and Sunday, highlighting the fluctuations in the daily figures. Maine CDC officials and Gov. Janet Mills say decisions on lifting or imposing restrictions are based on longer-term trends in new cases, hospitalizations, critical care needs, the percent of tests returning positive and other metrics.

Medical assistant Sara Goldberg draws a blood sample on Tuesday from Saco public safety dispatcher Steve Harding at an AFC Urgent Care mobile testing site. First responders from Saco and Biddeford received antibody testing for coronavirus on Tuesday at the Saco Fire Department parking lot. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

In a tweet on Tuesday, Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah noted a continued decline in the rate of positive tests. The overall “positivity rate” among the more than 73,000 molecular tests run to date in Maine fell from 4.57 percent on Monday to 4.46 percent while the seven-day rolling average fell from 2.99 percent to 2.76 percent. The 24-hour positivity rate was 1.15 percent among 1,394 molecular test results.

Thirty individuals with COVID-19 were hospitalized as of Tuesday, down one from Monday. There were 10 people in intensive care unit beds and six people on ventilators because of respiratory failure.

To date, there have been 2,819 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the Maine CDC. Of that total, 2,499 cases were confirmed through molecular-based lab tests and 320 are categorized as “probable” based on exposure to infected people or positive antibody tests.

The vast majority of Maine’s deaths have been among individuals over age 70.

After accounting for the 101 deaths and 2,233 people who have recovered, Maine CDC was reporting 485 active cases of the disease, a decrease of 35 from Monday. Maine averaged 509 active cases daily for the week ending Tuesday – compared to an average of 589 active cases for the seven-day period ending June 9 – as recoveries outpace new diagnoses of the disease.

There was no daily briefing with Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah Tuesday. Starting this week, the Maine CDC plans to hold briefings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

On Monday, Gov. Janet Mills announced plans to further relax restrictions on restaurants, bars, brewery tasting rooms, fitness centers, nail salons and tattoo parlors in Cumberland, York and Androscoggin counties. Those three counties account for more than 80 percent of Maine’s COVID-19 cases and continue to experience community transmission of the disease.

Starting Wednesday, restaurants in Cumberland, York and Androscoggin counties can resume indoor dining service as long as they are following health and safety guidelines, including spacing tables apart, staff wearing face coverings and regular disinfection of surfaces. Gyms, nail salons and tattoo parlors can also reopen to indoor service, with precautions.

Bars and tasting rooms in the three counties will also be allowed to serve customers outdoors on Wednesday. With the latest changes, all 16 of Maine’s counties are operating under the same guidelines for reopening businesses.

 


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