The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 24 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday as well as an additional death.

The total number of confirmed or probable cases in Maine stood at 3,912. To date, at least 123 Mainers have died after contracting the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The Maine CDC was reporting 428 active cases Friday after accounting for the total number of deaths and the 3,361 individuals who have recovered, an increase of seven since Thursday. There have been 3,499 confirmed cases of the virus and 413 probable cases.

The death reported Friday was a man in his 60s from Androscoggin County, the agency said.

Maine continues to have among the lowest infection and death rates in the nation from COVID-19, according to daily tracking and analysis by The New York Times.

As of Friday, Maine had an infection rate of 289 cases for every 100,000 residents, which was lower than every other state except Hawaii and Vermont. By comparison, the states that currently have the highest infection rates, Louisiana and Arizona, had 2,465 and 2,348 cases for every 100,000 residents, respectively, according to The New York Times.

Still, Maine continues to have one of the worst disparities in the nation when it comes to the racial and ethnic breakdown of who is contracting COVID-19.

While Blacks make up only 1.4 percent of all residents in Maine, they account for roughly 22 percent of all COVID-19 cases in which the race of the individual is known, according to the most recent figures from the Maine CDC.

A man walks at the intersection of Spring and Union streets in Portland on Monday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

On Thursday Gov. Janet Mills announced $1 million from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund will be provided to organizations working in immigrant and minority communities to provide education, prevention and support services. Mills also announced $5 million in rental assistance to help prevent evictions and counter the loss of a federal unemployment benefits program set to expire Friday.

Nationwide, more than 4.5 million individuals have been infected and nearly 153,000 people have died after contracting COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracking system. The United States has the highest number of deaths from the virus, by far.

Maine has experienced a slight uptick in new cases in recent days but has yet to see the huge spikes being seen in many Southern and Western states.

On Friday, the Maine Department of Education announced that all 16 counties met the overall health metrics to enable schools to resume in-classroom instruction this fall as long as they comply with health and safety guidelines. Those guidelines include screening students and staff upon entering school, physical distancing and wearing face coverings.

The final decision about whether to resume in-person instruction will be made by individual school boards or districts, however.

Hospitalizations across Maine increased slightly over the past week but remain low overall. On Friday, the Maine CDC reported that 12 people were hospitalized – up one from the day before – while seven individuals were in critical care beds and two were connected to ventilators.

Public health officials closely track hospitalization, ICU and ventilator trends in order to detect whether the coronavirus is spreading to a point where it could strain health care networks. As of Friday, Maine had 138 available ICU beds and 270 available ventilators.

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