A window painting at Starbucks on Congress Street depicts a mask-wearing woman. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The total number of coronavirus cases in Maine was unchanged overall on Wednesday, as state health officials reported 28 new infections but also adjusted earlier figures downward based on subsequent testing.

The number of deaths among individuals with COVID-19 held steady at 118.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 25 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 as well as three new probable cases of the disease for a total of 28 during the previous 24-hour period.

But Maine’s overall case numbers remained flat at 3,723 because of other adjustments based on follow-up testing and the way cases are tracked by the Maine CDC.

Four individuals turned out to be non-residents of Maine, so their cases were transferred to health agencies in their home states, consistent with policies in place in Maine and other jurisdictions. To date, roughly 120 residents of other states have tested positive in Maine, with many of those New Hampshire residents who receive their health care in Maine.

But another 21 probable cases were dropped from Maine CDC’s case totals on Wednesday because subsequent testing showed the individuals were negative for COVID-19. Probable cases include symptomatic individuals who had contact with infected people, or individuals who tested positive on antigen or antibody tests.

Nineteen of those 21 cases were among young people at a summer camp who initially tested positive on an antigen test but came back negative after the Maine CDC ran molecular-based tests, which are more accurate, at the state lab. Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, declined to identify the camp on Tuesday because he said there was no public health threat.

After accounting for the 118 deaths to date and the 3,216 individuals who have recovered from the disease, Maine CDC was reporting 389 active cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. That is a decrease of 25 from Tuesday, attributable in part to the 19 campers who were re-designated as negative after subsequent testing.

Maine is among just three states where per capita daily cases of COVID-19 have been trending downward during the past two weeks, according to The New York Times coronavirus tracking system. Additionally, Maine’s total case rate of 277 infections per 100,000 residents was the fifth-lowest in the country as of Wednesday.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations also remain low in Maine. As of Wednesday, 10 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized statewide, with eight of those individuals being treated in critical care units and four connected to ventilators. Maine had 135 critical care beds and 261 ventilators available on Wednesday.

State health officials remain concerned, however, about the potential for spikes in cases here as the virus surges in other parts of the country, particularly the deep South and the western U.S.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 63,028 new cases and 1,047 additional deaths nationwide on Wednesday. That is lower than last Friday’s record high of 74,710 new cases but is more than double the seven-day average of 27,125 new cases reported for the week ending on June 21.

The Maine CDC continues to investigate potential outbreaks in the state, however.

The number of confirmed cases among workers at the Presque Isle Walmart remained at three as of Wednesday, although Maine CDC spokesman Robert Long said epidemiologists are working with company representatives to complete contact tracing of the infected individuals and offer other guidance.

The agency was also awaiting results from another round of testing at American Roots, a Westbrook clothing manufacturer that has been producing face masks and face shields during the pandemic. Eleven workers at American Roots, which employs mostly recent immigrants to Maine, had tested positive during initial testing.

On Tuesday, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced plans for additional “swab and send” testing sites in Westbrook, Sanford, Skowhegan and Lincoln. There are now plans for 22 “swab and send” sites around the state where residents, out-of-state visitors, seasonal workers or others at risk of exposure can access free testing if they fall under the state’s “standing order” for testing.

Work is ongoing to launch a mobile testing lab in Augusta that is expected to allow the Maine CDC to process an additional 25,000 tests weekly. The lab was supposed to be operational this month but DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said Tuesday that she hoped the facility will be functioning “in the coming weeks.”

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