Maine reported 25 new COVID-19 cases Monday and no additional deaths as daily new cases have eased slightly over the past three days.

After a surge last week, including 58 new cases on Sept. 30, the past three days have returned to daily fluctuations more typical of recent weeks, with 25 new cases Monday, 38 Sunday and 26 Saturday.

York County, which has been a hotspot for COVID-19, reported six new cases Monday, while Cumberland County reported five. Dr. Nirav Shah, Maine CDC director, said last week that in the previous two weeks, York County had accounted for 40 percent of all cases in Maine. York County has accounted for 27 percent of all Maine cases over the past three days.

With President Trump hospitalized over the weekend with COVID-19, the spotlight on the pandemic continues. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, announced Sunday that she had tested negative for the coronavirus, while at least three other Republican senators have tested positive.

Since the pandemic began, 5,545 people in Maine have fallen ill with COVID-19, and 142 have died, according to data published Monday by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fifteen more people have recovered from COVID-19, and active cases stood at 596 Monday. The seven-day daily average of new cases was 36.1 Monday, compared to 35 a week ago.

What scientists have learned about COVID-19, especially as the weather gets colder and people do more indoors, is “we need multiple layers of protection,” Dr. Dora Anne Mills, chief health improvement officer at MaineHealth, the parent company of Maine Medical Center, said in a Facebook post.

“Think of these layers the same way as when you go for a walk on a crisp autumn evening,” Mills said. “We may put on a long-sleeved shirt, but we also need a sweater, a coat, and a hat.

“For COVID-19, the layers of protection include: masking, distancing, hygiene, reduced density of people, ventilation, screening for symptoms and/or testing, isolation (for those who test positive), contact tracing and quarantining (for contacts). And for this fall, we also need flu vaccine,” Mills wrote.

Outbreaks occur when few or none of the safety protocols are followed, such as the “super-spreader” wedding and reception on Aug. 7 in Millinocket that has now been linked to 177 COVID-19 cases in Maine and eight deaths. One of the wedding attendees works at the York County Jail, which has had one of the largest outbreaks in the state.

Musician Jill Boote performs on Fore Street in Portland on Sunday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The jail has recorded 87 cases among inmates and staff, and rules on wearing masks were routinely flouted, even discouraged.

Inmates at the jail were not allowed to wear masks once they tested negative for COVID-19 during their intake, a policy described by inmates and confirmed in an email to jail staff. And guards were told not to wear masks to avoid panicking inmates, according to one corrections officer and a lawyer who is working with several others.

“We’re all worried now,” Joshua Walker, an inmate who tested positive, said in a telephone interview with the Press Herald. “Who is going to be the next one to fall down on the ground and die?”

Hospitalizations remained low, with 10 patients currently hospitalized, and one patient in intensive care. The seven-day average of new patients needing hospitalization was one, according to state data.


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