Maine had 23 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and no additional deaths, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The last recorded death was six days ago on June 17, which brought the total number of fatal cases to 102.

An additional 37 recoveries were reported, which means active cases declined from 463 Monday to 449 Tuesday.

To date, there have been 2,994 cases of COVID-19 in Maine, according to the Maine CDC.

For the seven-day period ending Tuesday, Maine averaged 23 new COVID-19 cases per day, compared with a daily average in the low 50s at its peak in late May.

Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine CDC director, did not brief the media Tuesday, but on Monday he noted the positive trends in reported cases and hospitalizations. Shah also pointed out that cases were escalating in other states, and said that Maine must remain vigilant.

A total of 337 Mainers have been hospitalized since the pandemic began, but hospitalizations have been trending downward recently, with 24 people hospitalized Tuesday, down three from Monday.

Also, the cumulative positive-test rate has declined to 4.21 percent, down from between 5 and 6 percent in April and May. With expanded testing, the number of positive cases has declined, and on Tuesday the daily rate was 1.58 percent. The lower the positivity rate, the more likely it is that Maine health workers are finding most cases of the disease. This means containment efforts, like quarantining those with COVID-19 and their close contacts, are more likely to halt transmission of the virus.

Testing will increase again in July with expansion of a partnership with Westbrook’s Idexx Laboratories, giving Maine the ability to conduct about 35,000 tests weekly. That is more than seven times previous capacity.

Despite the decline in cases, the Mills administration on Monday indefinitely postponed the reopening of indoor service at bars and brewery tasting rooms, citing outbreaks linked to such establishments in other states.

Bars and brewery tasting rooms can continue to serve drinks outdoors, and restaurants that include bars can continue to seat patrons at indoor tables as part of earlier phases of Maine’s economic reopening plan. The state’s liquor licensing agency has been working to expedite requests from bars seeking to expand outdoors.

But state health officials said the nature of many bars increases the risk of transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19

“Indoor bar service typically features crowds, often in close contact with one another, often without tables or other ways of keeping people apart,” said Jeanne Lambrew, commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “Smaller spaces in many bars makes physically distancing very difficult. Further, individuals may be less likely to wear cloth face coverings in bars.”

The change affects Class A Lounge license holders, a group that includes bars and taverns that don’t have kitchens, as well as brewery, distillery and winery tasting rooms without restaurant licenses. Such businesses can still serve in outdoor areas but will not yet be able to resume indoor service.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: