The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 49 cases of the novel coronavirus, and one death, ending a week where York County’s school pandemic preparedness meter moved from yellow to green.

The new designation will allow York County to resume student sports and other extracurricular activities. Maine’s southernmost county became a coronavirus hot spot at the end of the summer, but case counts have eased over the past few weeks, public health officials said.

Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 5,913 on Saturday, a net increase of 48 cases since Friday. The reported number of new cases on Saturday – 49 – is higher than the difference in daily totals because the Maine CDC revises its numbers of cumulative total cases based on how many “probable” cases later test negative, and on the results of contact tracing investigations.

Of those 5,913 cumulative cases, 5,283 have been confirmed by testing and 630 are considered probable cases of COVID-19.

The person reported to have died Saturday was a man in his 70s from York County, the Maine CDC said. One hundred forty-six people have died with COVID-19 in Maine, and 5,112 have recovered from the disease. Maine had 655 active cases on Saturday.

York County’s “green” designation comes after it halved its new case counts over two successive two-week periods. From Sept. 17 to Sept. 30, the county reported 175 cases, and from Oct. 2 to Oct. 15, it reported only 85. All counties in Maine are now green, but health officials say they are closely watching Androscoggin, Somerset and Kennebec.


Still, the statewide daily average of new cases has crept up in recent months, from 14.1 two months ago to 28.9 one month ago and 30.9 on Friday. Maine’s virus prevalence remains among the very lowest in the country, behind only Vermont.


Meanwhile, Maine public health officials are looking ahead to a vaccine. Maine submitted a vaccine distribution plan to the federal government on Friday that prioritizes protecting health care workers and the elderly, and takes into account racial equity in handing out doses.

Assuming supplies are large enough, Maine says it could vaccinate 80 percent of the state’s population in 12 weeks, giving about 120,000 shots a week once the program is fully ramped up.

Maine’s plan outlines four phases of distribution.

Phase 1 would include health care workers in high-risk settings, people in congregate settings and some essential workers. Phase 2 would vaccinate people with underlying health conditions, school staff, correctional facilities and seniors. Phase 3 would broaden availability to young adults, children and people who work in higher-risk industries or essential jobs who weren’t previously offered the vaccine. And by Phase 4, the vaccine would be available to everyone.


Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, warned that finding a safe and effective vaccine won’t instantly make the virus go away.

“The day a vaccine is approved will not be the day COVID-19 comes to an end,” he said in a news conference Thursday. “It won’t make COVID-19 magically disappear overnight. Vaccines take time.”

Several vaccines are in late-stage trials, pushed forward by urgent demand. The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any of them yet, but could possibly do so as soon as early November. Distribution wouldn’t happen until a few months after that, at the earliest.

The University of Maine System reported three active cases across its eight schools on Saturday, one fewer than Friday. The University of Maine at Augusta had two active cases, and the University of Maine in Orono had one. One person was released from isolation at each of those two colleges Saturday, but the University of Maine in Orono also found one new case, keeping its active case total steady at one.

County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 832 COVID-19 cases in Androscoggin, 56 in Aroostook, 2,421 in Cumberland, 73 in Franklin, 56 in Hancock, 288 in Kennebec, 57 in Knox, 52 in Lincoln, 157 in Oxford, 271 in Penobscot, 10 in Piscataquis, 77 in Sagadahoc, 127 in Somerset, 102 in Waldo, 20 in Washington, and 1,313 in York.

By age, 12.7 percent of patients were under 20, while 16.4 percent were in their 20s, 15.4 percent were in their 30s, 13.9 percent were in their 40s, 16.1 percent were in their 50s, 11.4 percent were in their 60s, 7.2 percent were in their 70s, and 6.8 percent were 80 or older.

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

Effective Oct. 1, the Maine CDC says it will no longer update hospital capacity data on weekends. On Friday, Maine’s hospitals had 11 patients with COVID-19, of whom five were in intensive care and one was on a ventilator. The state had 93 intensive care unit beds available of a total 382, and 252 ventilators available of 318. There were also 444 alternative ventilators.

Around the world on Saturday, there were 39.4 million known cases of COVID-19 and 1.1 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States has had over 8 million cases and 218,000 deaths.

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