The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 603 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths, as well as another record high number of hospitalizations across the state: 235.

Saturday’s number of hospital patients broke the record set on Wednesday – 226 – and pushes this month’s trend of hospitalizations even higher. The last time Maine had close to this many COVID-19 hospital patients was in January, which saw the previous record of 207. The burden on hospitals around the state has administrators worrying about whether, with intensive care units full of COVID-19 patients, they’ll have the capacity for people in need of other urgent care.

Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 87,189 on Saturday. Of those, 62,365 have been confirmed by testing and 24,824 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The new data raised the seven-day average for new cases to 468.6 and the 14-day average to 477.1.

One thousand thirteen people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began. Information about the people reported Saturday to have died wasn’t available from the Maine CDC.

Saturday’s numbers lent to a steady increase in case averages as, nationally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed booster shots for millions of Americans.

The federal CDC on Thursday recommended boosters for people 65 and older, as well as those with high-risk health problems. A panel of experts advising the CDC voted against booster shots for people 14 to 64 and people who work in health care. But the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, disagreed with that last decision, and is including health care workers in the agency’s final booster recommendation, as well as people who work in high-risk institutional settings such as prisons.

The CDC’s booster shot endorsement covers only the Pfizer vaccine. Federal health officials haven’t yet weighed boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, nor have they considered whether it makes sense to give a Pfizer booster shot to people who received one of those other vaccines.

Health care providers around Maine were already scheduling booster appointments on Friday. To receive the third shot, six months must have passed since your second shot of Pfizer. You must be 65 or older, have a high-risk underlying condition, or work or live at an institution with high exposure risk for COVID-19 – health care facilities, homeless shelters, prisons.

More information about appointments and eligibility can be found at https://www.maine.gov/covid19/vaccines.

By Saturday morning, Maine had given 868,047 people the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 73.30 percent are now fully vaccinated.

Maine as of Friday had recorded 2,693 “breakthrough” cases, which occur when a fully vaccinated person contracts COVID-19. Unvaccinated people still account for the vast majority of cases, and are also much likelier to have more serious cases if they do catch the disease. By comparison, there have been 50,658 total cases since COVID-19 vaccines became available to Mainers.

County by county as of Saturday, there had been 9,488 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 3,160 in Aroostook, 19,827 in Cumberland, 1,759 in Franklin, 2,106 in Hancock, 8,118 in Kennebec, 1,576 in Knox, 1,504 in Lincoln, 4,289 in Oxford, 9,980 in Penobscot, 1,033 in Piscataquis, 1,690 in Sagadahoc, 3,340 in Somerset, 2,008 in Waldo, 1,307 in Washington and 16,004 in York.

By age, 20.5 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.1 percent were in their 20s, 15.3 percent were in their 30s, 13.1 percent were in their 40s, 13.8 percent were in their 50s, 9.9 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.1 percent were 80 or older.

Of the 235 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday, 84 were in intensive care and 36 were on ventilators. The state had 42 intensive care unit beds available of a total 341, and 185 ventilators available of 299.

Around the world late Saturday afternoon, there were 231.3 million known cases of COVID-19 and 4.74 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 42.8 million cases and 687,572 deaths.


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