U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, announced Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

“(Tuesday) morning, I tested positive for COVID-19 for the first time. I have mild symptoms and will remain in Maine this week. While I am home, I will vote by proxy according to House rules,” Golden said in a tweet.

Meanwhile Tuesday, the state reported 354 new cases over a three-day period and two additional deaths from COVID-19, even as test results continue to show pandemic conditions are improving.

The state’s report on Tuesday includes new cases from Saturday, Sunday and Monday because the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not update the count over the weekend.

The number of hospitalizations Tuesday remained the same as Monday, maintaining a downward trend from a Jan. 13 peak of 436 patients. On Tuesday, 116 were hospitalized for COVID-19 statewide, including 25 in critical care and seven on a ventilator.

Since the pandemic began two years ago, Maine has reported 232,647 cases of COVID-19, and 2,147 deaths.


Wastewater testing results from various cities and towns across Maine also were updated Tuesday and most show a continuing decline of virus prevalence or low levels that are remaining stable. At the Portland Water District’s two plants – East End and Westbrook – virus levels have fallen by more than 95 percent since January and have stayed at extremely low levels. Some testing sites reported increases, including Belfast and Houlton. Aroostook County, which includes Houlton, is experiencing higher levels of transmission than the rest of the state.

In other news, Maine for the first time is receiving shipments of the anti-viral pill Paxlovid two weeks in a row. Prior to this week, Paxlovid shipments from the federal government to states happened every other week, but production and distribution of the pills are ramping up. Maine’s allocation for the past two weeks is 420 courses of treatment per week.

Paxlovid has shown to be 90 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations for patients who take the medication soon after testing positive for COVID-19.

Omicron continues to be the dominant strain of the virus detected during surveillance testing, the Maine CDC reported Monday. All samples tested in March were omicron, compared to 97 percent omicron in February, 95 percent in January and 17 percent in December.

In December, delta was the most prevalent strain, accounting for 83 percent of cases, but it was quickly overtaken by the more contagious but less severe omicron variant.

The latest round of testing in March did not detect any cases of the omicron subvariant, BA.2, although it was detected last month and is known to be present in Maine.

While omicron BA.2 appears to be more contagious than the more prevalent form of the variant, it is not expected to cause another major surge in the United States because vaccinations and natural immunity from previous infections still provide protection.

Meantime, more mask mandates are being rescinded as pandemic conditions improve. The city of Portland-owned Merrill Auditorium, Portland Expo – home of the Maine Celtics basketball team – and Ocean Gateway shifted to mask optional Monday, although proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will still be required for entry.

Last week, the city of Portland rescinded its mask mandate for city buildings, such as City Hall, and in February it ended a blanket indoor mask mandate for all public indoor places.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story