The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 70 new cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths as coronavirus infections continue to edge up in the state.

The state’s seven-day average of new daily cases rose to 70, a few days after Maine recorded its first daily count over 100 in more than a month. The virus is surging across the country because of the delta variant, but Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, has said that highly transmissible version of COVID-19 doesn’t yet appear to be driving the bulk of new cases here.

Maine’s uptick in cases is still far lower than increases experienced in other parts of the country. Maine’s seven-day average of new cases is 4.5 per 100,000 people, with 19 states having at least triple the prevalence of new cases, according to the Harvard Global Health Institute. Some states with low vaccination rates – such as Florida, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana – are seeing huge spikes in COVID-19, with Florida tops in the nation at 79 cases per 100,000 people, on a seven-day average. Maine and all of New England have, in comparison to states that are seeing surges, high vaccination rates, although Maine health officials are still urging people who are unvaccinated to get their shots.

New Hampshire has the fewest cases per capita, at 2.8 per 100,000, followed by Vermont at 2.9.

As the virus surges, some states or localities have reimposed pandemic restrictions, such as Los Angeles County in California, while vaccinations have increased in some hard-hit areas, such as Springfield, Missouri. Still, some are advocating for vaccine mandates – such as in workplaces and health care settings – to improve vaccine coverage.

“As a society, we must decide if we wish to put the desires of those who choose to remain unvaccinated above the health and well-being of the vaccinated,” tweeted Dr. Leana Wen, visiting professor at George Washington University and a proponent of vaccine mandates, on Saturday.


In Maine, vaccine mandates are being discussed for health care workers, once the the Food and Drug Administration grants full approval to the vaccines, which could happen in late summer or early fall. The vaccines are currently being given under an emergency use authorization. The University of Maine System has also said that it plans to make the COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for students and staff upon full approval by the FDA.

Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 69,904 on Saturday. Of those, 51,055 have been confirmed by testing and 18,849 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The 14-day average was 50.2 daily cases.

Eight hundred ninety-seven people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began. Information about the six people reported Saturday to have died wasn’t provided by the Maine CDC.

New vaccinations, meanwhile, have slowed. Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 68.08 percent are now fully vaccinated, compared to 67.66 percent a week ago. By Saturday morning, Maine had given 806,182 people the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The immunization rate for young adults is lagging, with only 51 percent of people in their 20s fully vaccinated around the state. In some rural counties, the rate is even lower; Piscataquis, Somerset and Washington counties have vaccinated fewer than a third of people in their 20s.

The vaccination lag means that people hospitalized with COVID-19 are younger in Maine. On Friday, the average age of COVID-19 hospital patients was 57, compared to 72 in January, Shah tweeted.


“As older Mainers have been vaccinated, the virus is infecting a younger population,” he said.

Despite the presence of the delta variant, fully vaccinated people are well protected. Experts say that even if they do get the virus, they’re much less likely to develop severe symptoms. And meanwhile, 97 percent of people hospitalized around the country in the past few weeks have been unvaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

County by county as of Saturday, there had been 8,475 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,952 in Aroostook, 17,414 in Cumberland, 1,408 in Franklin, 1,397 in Hancock, 6,679 in Kennebec, 1,182 in Knox, 1,104 in Lincoln, 3,676 in Oxford, 6,437 in Penobscot, 603 in Piscataquis, 1,482 in Sagadahoc, 2,312 in Somerset, 1,085 in Waldo, 954 in Washington and 13,744 in York.

By age, 18.9 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.2 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 13.4 percent were in their 40s, 14.5 percent were in their 50s, 10.3 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.

Maine hospitals on Saturday had 31 patients with COVID-19, of whom 18 were in intensive care and nine were on ventilators.

Around the world late Saturday afternoon, there were 193.1 million known cases of COVID-19 and 4.1 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 34.4 million cases and 610,720 deaths.

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