The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 23 new cases of the novel coronavirus, and two deaths, raising totals over a holiday weekend during which Maine is poised to see a beefed-up mandate to wear masks in public.

Maine’s cumulative cases over the course of the pandemic rose to 3,397. A total of 3,012 cases have been confirmed by testing and another 385 are considered probable cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

One hundred seven people have died. The people reported deceased Saturday were a man in his 80s and a woman in her 60s, both from Cumberland County, the Maine CDC said.

Subtracting numbers of people who have recovered – 2,751 – and died, there were 539 active cases on Saturday.

Many Independence Day events around the state were canceled for fear of coronavirus transmission, and Gov. Janet Mills soon is expected to release an executive order mandating that businesses enforce mask-wearing policies for customers.

Masks are essential to containing the spread of the virus, Mills said. The virus is spread through water droplets expelled from the human respiratory system, and masks can help hold those in. Despite some well-publicized resistance to masks in other states, Mills said she thought Mainers could get used to wearing them.

“It’s the same thing as saying, ‘No shirt, no service, no shoes, no service,’” Mills said on Wednesday. “It’s just the rules of the game.”

Mills’ announcement this past week also came with the news that visitors from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey won’t have to sequester themselves under a 14-day quarantine or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

 

Those states join New Hampshire and Vermont on the list of places that Maine’s public health officials consider safer. Metrics such as the prevalence of the virus, number of hospitalizations, and the ability to test for and trace COVID-19 guide these decisions, the officials said.

Notably absent from the list is Massachusetts – a source of worry for Maine business owners who rely on visitors from the Bay State to support them in summer.

Meanwhile, new data provided by the Maine CDC suggest that growing numbers of out-of-state visitors are testing positive for COVID-19. Tracking new cases among nonresidents can be challenging, because the Maine CDC refers those cases to the patients’ states of origin – and yet may still conduct its own contact tracing investigation on the patients’ activities in Maine.

County by county as of Saturday, there were 494 cumulative cases in Androscoggin, 24 in Aroostook, 1,793 in Cumberland, 40 in Franklin, 17 in Hancock, 146 in Kennebec, 25 in Knox, 24 in Lincoln, 42 in Oxford, 114 in Penobscot, three in Piscataquis, 34 in Sagadahoc, 30 in Somerset, 56 in Waldo, three in Washington, and 549 in York.

By age, only 8.2 percent of patients were under 20, while 15.3 percent were in their 20s, 15.4 percent were in their 30s, 15.6 percent were in their 40s, 16.5 percent were in their 50s, 11.7 percent were in their 60s, 8.3 percent were in their 70s, and 8.8 percent were 80 or older.

Women are still the majority of cases, at just under 52 percent.

Maine’s hospitals had 27 patients with COVID-19, a count that has remained fairly steady over the past few weeks. Of those patients, nine were in intensive care and three were on ventilators.

The state’s hospitals had 152 available intensive care unit beds of a total 397, and 257 ventilators available of 316. There were also 444 alternative ventilators.

Around the world on Saturday, there were 11.1 million cases of COVID-19 and nearly 528,000 deaths. The United States had 2.8 million cases and more than 129,000 deaths.

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