The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 42 new cases of the novel coronavirus and one additional death, as an increase to 10 cases associated with a Sanford-area funeral and reception added to York County’s recent surge in infections. The public health agency said that people at six social clubs in Sanford may have been exposed in connection with the funeral and reception.

Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 4,834. Of those, 4,349 have been confirmed by testing and 485 are considered probable cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

One hundred thirty-five people have died with COVID-19 in Maine, as Saturday brought the first COVID-19 Maine death reported in a week. The deceased was a woman in her 80s from Somerset County, the Maine CDC said.

Subtracting the number of people who have recovered – 4,211 – and died, there were 488 active cases on Saturday.

York County has driven much of the growth in new cases over the past week, as outbreaks have been identified at the York County Jail, Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, the Sanford Fire Department and Seal Rock Health Care nursing home in Saco.

 

On Saturday, the Maine CDC reported that the number of cases linked to an Aug. 31 funeral and reception in the Sanford area has increased to 10. The funeral took place outdoors at the Southern Maine Veterans Cemetery in Springvale, and the reception occurred indoors and outdoors at Sanford American Legion Post 19 on Main Street in Springvale.

“Additionally, individuals now confirmed with COVID-19 who attended the funeral and reception went to social clubs in the area, potentially exposing others at those clubs to the virus,” the Maine CDC said.

The state is notifying close contacts of the people confirmed with COVID-19.

The Maine CDC said that attendees of the following Sanford social clubs on the following dates should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and call their health provider to determine whether they should be tested:

– Sanford Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9935 on Hutchenson Street from Aug. 24 to the present
– Lafayette Social Club on Winter Street between Aug. 27 and Sept. 2
– Wolves Club on High Street from Aug. 26 to the present
– Sanford Elks Lodge on Elm Street from Sept. 3 to the present
– Amvets Sanford Post 3 on School Street from Aug. 26 to the present

Attendees of Springvale Social Club in Springvale, a village within Sanford, from Sept. 1 to the present should also take the same precautions, the Maine CDC said.

On Wednesday alone, 14 of 23 new cases statewide were in York County, health officials said. Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, called the spread of the virus in that county “deeply concerning.”

As of Saturday morning, York County had 170 active cases of the state’s total 488, according to Maine CDC’s data.

Some of those outbreaks have been linked to a crowded wedding reception in Millinocket in August that was attended by a York County Jail employee. The pastor at Calvary Baptist Church officiated at the wedding.

Calvary Baptist has sparked controversy for shunning masks and continuing to hold in-person services during an outbreak in the church itself. Earlier this month, the pastor announced he was hiring a well-known religious liberty attorney to defend the church’s interests.

In an emailed statement this past week, the attorney, David Gibbs III, said he would defend the congregation’s right to assemble against any potential restrictions by government officials. He also said the church had received threatening messages because of the public attention it has drawn in recent weeks.

“The church is currently holding services and is taking precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including extra sanitation and social distancing, as is reasonable,” Gibbs said in the statement. “The church is also providing on-line services for those that wish to listen from home.”

Gibbs also confirmed that more members of the church – and not just the pastor, Todd Bell – had attended the wedding. Some became infected there, he said.

The Sanford City Council on Thursday night unanimously passed an ordinance requiring that masks be worn in all public settings where social distancing isn’t possible, as well as in stores, restaurants, bars, tasting rooms and lodging businesses of any size. The ordinance has an enforcement provision that could bring fines and possible closure for institutions that don’t comply.

Meanwhile, the University of Maine System reported that its number of active cases is down to only three across all campuses, four fewer than on Friday. There are two active cases at the University of Maine in Orono, where two people were released from isolation Saturday, removing them from the count. The University of Maine at Fort Kent has one active case. And the University of Southern Maine released its only two patients from isolation, reducing its active count to zero.

County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 634 COVID-19 cases in Androscoggin, 40 in Aroostook, 2,241 in Cumberland, 54 in Franklin, 52 in Hancock, 199 in Kennebec, 33 in Knox, 36 in Lincoln, 82 in Oxford, 250 in Penobscot, eight in Piscataquis, 62 in Sagadahoc, 74 in Somerset, 73 in Waldo, 15 in Washington, and 976 in York.

By age, 10.4 percent of patients were under 20, while 17 percent were in their 20s, 15.3 percent were in their 30s, 14.6 percent were in their 40s, 16.4 percent were in their 50s, 11.4 percent were in their 60s, 7.7 percent were in their 70s, and 7.3 percent were 80 or over.

Women still make up a slight majority of cases, at just under 51 percent.

Maine’s hospitals had 10 patients with COVID-19 on Saturday, of whom six were in intensive care and four were on ventilators. Maine had 100 intensive care unit beds available of a statewide 379, and 254 ventilators available of 319. The state also had 437 alternative ventilators.

Around the world late Saturday afternoon, there were 28.5 million known cases of COVID-19 and more than 917,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 6.4 million cases and more than 193,000 deaths.

This story was updated at 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 13 to correct the number associated with the American Legion post in Springvale.

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