Maine reported 467 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and four additional deaths, a slight easing of case counts amid some signs the latest surge is starting to subside.
The seven-day average of daily new cases dipped to 519.9, down from 591.6 a week ago, but up from 316.7 a month ago.
Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 94,348 cases of COVID-19, and 1,070 deaths.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Maine continues to drop precipitously. As of Thursday – the latest data available – there were 152 people hospitalized, including 46 in critical care and 23 on ventilators. Over the last two weeks, hospitalizations have decreased by 45 percent and the number of critical care patients has dropped by 80 percent.
Across the U.S., COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased from 81,725 on average two weeks ago to 63,921 now, or 28 percent, according to the U.S. CDC.
In Maine, the positivity rate has also declined, from about 6 percent a few weeks ago to 4.43 percent on Thursday. When positivity rates are lower, that’s a sign that most symptomatic cases of the disease circulating are being reported, which leads to public health strategies like isolation and quarantine being more effective at tamping down transmission.
Also Thursday, the Maine Department of Education released updated data on positive cases and outbreaks in public schools. There have now been 2,910 cases among staff and students since the school year began, an increase of 332 cases over last week. Five additional schools also reached outbreak status, bringing that total to 113.
Meanwhile, many parents are eagerly anticipating federal approval for COVID-19 vaccines for ages 5-11. Pfizer has submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration and formally asked for approval for elementary-aged children, and that approval could come as soon as shortly before or after Halloween. For those currently eligible for the vaccine, everyone 12 and older, 883,680 are fully vaccinated in Maine, representing 65.7 percent of the state’s 1.3 million population.
This story will be updated.