A sign that reads “6 FEET APART” is seen through a windshield at Back Cove in Portland during Monday’s rain. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 34 additional COVID-19 cases but no new deaths on Tuesday, one day before additional businesses prepare to reopen their doors.

Overall, the number of new coronavirus cases in Maine has been trending upward during the past week, although not by the large margins being seen in some other states. Including the 34 new cases reported Tuesday, Maine has averaged 37 additional cases of COVID-19 daily during the past week compared with an average of 25 cases per day for the week ending June 23.

The number of deaths with individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 held steady at 105 on Tuesday, according to the latest figures from the Maine CDC.

After accounting for those deaths and the 2,646 people who have recovered from the disease caused by the coronavirus, Maine had 502 active cases of COVID-19. That is an increase of 11 from Monday and gives Maine a seven-day average of 475 active cases and a 14-day average of 470. That is just above the average of 465 active cases daily for the week ending June 23 and 509 for the week ending June 16.

Hospitalization rates among individuals with COVID-19 are also remaining relatively steady. There were 29 people in the hospital on Tuesday, down two from the previous day, but the number of people being treated in intensive care units ticked up from eight to nine, with four people on ventilators.

Meanwhile, state health officials continue to work with private companies and other state agencies to track cases in congregate care settings, including detention facilities.

On Monday, the Maine Department of Corrections reported that a teenager tested positive for COVID-19 before being released last week from Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland. As a result, department staff were testing all 35  youths still incarcerated at Long Creek – the state’s only youth detention facility – as well as 187 staff.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections said Tuesday that she hopes to have results back on those tests by Wednesday.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office also planned to test more than 300 inmates at the Cumberland County Jail on Wednesday after an 18-year-old man from Westbrook arrested on Saturday tested positive for the virus.

Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon said the man, who was arrested on charges of criminal threatening and disorderly conduct, had no symptoms when he arrived at the jail and passed the jail’s screening process. But the inmate was still segregated from others as part of the policy for new arrivals.

But after an anonymous tipster alerted jail staff that a family member of the man reportedly had COVID-19, the inmate was put into quarantine. Gagnon said that the man was only with staff members – who are all being tested – so “no other inmates should have been at risk.”

“It was inevitable for it to get here,” Gagnon said. “It was just a matter of time. We’ve held off for three or four months.”

The Westbrook police officer who arrested the unidentified man on charges of criminal threatening and disorderly conduct was not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 on Tuesday but was quarantining at home, pending test results.

Maine still has among the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, but state officials continue to grapple with the best ways to safely cater to out-of-state visitors who are key to Maine’s multi-billion dollar summer tourism season.

On Wednesday, Maine will begin Stage 3 of the economic reopening plan developed by the administration of Gov. Janet Mills.

While most businesses in Maine are already operating at least at some capacity, the sectors allowed to reopen their doors on July 1 include movie theaters, performing arts venues, bowling alleys, arcades, amusement parks, and spas or skin-care establishments. The businesses will have to abide by industry-specific checklists of health and safety guidelines, including capacity limits for some businesses and use of personal protective equipment.

Maine has yet to experience the large spikes in new cases being seen in southern and western states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. But Maine CDC officials have said they are closely tracking and taking into consideration case trends elsewhere as they make recommendations on lifting or reimposing restrictions, including on the current testing or quarantine requirement for out-of-state visitors to Maine.

 

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