The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 360 new cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period Tuesday as the delta variant continues to drive cases up in Maine and across the nation.

The high figure reflects testing results reported Saturday, Sunday and Monday rather than a single-day total. But Maine’s seven-day average has increased more than seven-fold in a month. The daily average for the week that ended Tuesday stood at 138, the highest level since late May.

Investigators with the Maine CDC are also opening more inquiries into outbreaks – defined as three or more cases with an epidemiological link – including some at long-term care or assisted living facilities.

A Maine CDC spokesman said Tuesday that there have been 21 cases among 18 residents and three staff members at Capitol City Manor, an assisted living facility in Augusta, since the investigation was opened on July 21. Robert Long said testing is ongoing and there have been no new positive cases at the Augusta facility during the past week.

A representative for Capitol City Manor declined to comment Tuesday. The facility’s most recent filing with the Maine CDC, dating to the end of June, showed that all 16 staff members at Capitol City Manor had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Maine CDC had a total of 10 open outbreak investigations as of Tuesday. They included Maine Medical Center in Portland (nine cases), Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast (eight cases), Gorham House (four cases), Zion Pentecostal Church in Mattawamkeag (13 cases), Camp Caribou (three cases), Camp Laurel South (three cases), Biddeford Recreation Department Camp (three cases), Allspeed Cyclery and Snow Shop in Portland (five cases) and Pratt & Whitney (31 cases). The Pratt & Whitney cases are over a period of several months, Long said.

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During the height of the pandemic in late-2020 and early-2021, Maine CDC had dozens of open outbreak investigations across the state consisting of hundreds of individual cases.

There were no additional deaths reported Tuesday. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the Maine CDC has tracked 71,666 confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 and reported at least 901 deaths linked to the disease. New hospitalization figures were not released Tuesday but as of Monday morning, 47 people were hospitalized statewide with the viral disease and 23 were in critical care.

The highly transmissible delta variant appears to be driving much of the new surge in Maine as it is across the country, particularly among the unvaccinated.

In July in Maine, 86 percent of the 115 positive test results analyzed using genomic sequencing were identified as the delta variant. Nationwide, the delta variant was identified in 93 percent of sequenced cases in late-July.

According to case rate metrics used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masks are recommended in indoor public settings for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in 13 of Maine’s 16 counties. The recommendation, which has been embraced by the Maine CDC, is based on a community transmission rate of at least 50 cases for every 100,000 residents in those counties.

Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, Somerset, Washington and York counties all have substantial levels of transmission, based on Maine CDC case data updated Tuesday. Waldo and Piscataquis counties were experiencing high transmission rates.

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Waldo County has emerged as the newest hotspot for COVID-19 cases in Maine, with new seven-day case rates that were four to five times higher than in Cumberland and York counties.

At the same time, the state’s vaccination rate is also slowly climbing upward again after plateauing for several weeks.

On Monday, the Maine CDC reported that the number of shots administered daily had increased by 12 percent between July 30 and Sunday. But the 1,673 shots administered daily for the week ending Sunday is a fraction of the daily total during the busiest period last spring.

Maine currently has the third-highest vaccination rate in the nation – behind Vermont and Massachusetts – with 64 percent of all residents considered fully vaccinated, according to tracking by Bloomberg. On Monday, the Mills administration announced that more than 80 percent of Maine residents age 18 or older had received at least one shot of vaccine.

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