State reports 649 new COVID-19 cases and 7 additional deaths – Press Herald

State health officials reported 649 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and seven additional deaths.

The seven-day daily case average is now 491, which is down slightly from 589 cases on average two weeks ago but nearly unchanged from 485 cases this time last month. On Tuesday, there were 883 new cases reported for the three-day period from Saturday through Monday, as well as seven deaths.

Virus transmission continues to be heaviest in the state’s least vaccinated counties.

Since the pandemic reached Maine in March 2020, there have been 99,256 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and 1,109 deaths, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Both are among the lowest per capita of any state.

Across the country, cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been declining for weeks, even though transmission remains high in many areas. The seven-day case average in the U.S. is just over 75,000, which is about half what it was this time last month.

Still, many northeast states, including Maine – where the delta variant took hold later than other areas – have yet to see much of a downward trend recently. New Hampshire’s seven-day case average has increased from 478 to 688 in the last two weeks, and Vermont’s average has risen from 163 per day to 231 during that time.

Hospitalizations had not been updated Wednesday morning, but as of Tuesday there were 203 individuals hospitalized in Maine with COVID-19, including 67 in critical care and 30 on ventilators. Hospitalizations had started to decrease after peaking at 235 on Sept. 25. They reached a low of 152 on Oct. 7 before starting to rise again. The overwhelming majority of people hospitalized continue to either be unvaccinated or vaccinated but older and with other serious health conditions.

In the U.S., the average number of daily hospitalizations is 52,146, which is down 20 percent from two weeks earlier, according to the U.S. CDC.

Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah is scheduled to provide at update on the pandemic at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

As for vaccinations, the state has now administered 897,047 final doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That represents 66.7 percent of all Mainers and 75.8 percent of those 12 and older who are eligible. Children between the ages of 5-11 could be eligible for a lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine as early as next month pending federal authorization.

Maine also has now administered 66,065 third doses of Pfizer vaccine, mostly to individuals age 65 and older and those who are immunocompromised. So far, only the Pfizer vaccine has been recommended for additional doses, but boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected soon as well.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an emergency appeal of the state’s vaccine requirement for health care workers. Beginning Oct. 29, workers who are not fully vaccinated face termination.

Some health care providers have warned that they may be short-staffed if they lose unvaccinated workers. Among those concerned about workforce shortages are some nursing homes, nonprofit agencies that run group homes for adults with intellectual disabilities, EMS providers and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, which has cut back on some services, such as neonatal intensive care, pediatric care at the hospital and trauma care.

This story will be updated.

Related Headlines

Use the form below to reset your password. When you’ve submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: