State reports 680 new cases of COVID-19, one additional death – Press Herald

State health officials reported 680 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and one additional death.

The seven-day daily case average now stands at 558, which is up from 466 cases two weeks ago and from 317 cases this time last month, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since the pandemic reached Maine in March 2020, there have been 93,881 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, 2,569 people have been hospitalized at some point and 1,066 people have died. In the past three days, the CDC reported a total of 39 deaths, although 30 of those were found through a periodic review of death certificates and occurred between Sept. 11-29.

Nationally, more than 700,000 Americans have now died from the virus, according to the U.S. CDC.

Hospitalization numbers had not been updated Thursday morning, but as of Wednesday there were 166 individuals in a Maine hospital with COVID-19, including 51 in critical care and 21 on ventilators. Over the last two weeks, hospitalizations have decreased by 36 percent and the number of critical care patients has dropped by 73 percent.

Cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been declining across the country in recent weeks, especially in areas where the delta variant took hold earlier. But some states, including Maine, are still seeing cases rise.

The state’s seven-day case rate per 100,000 people is 267, according to the U.S. CDC, which ranks 17th highest among states over that time and is higher than the national rate of 204 cases per 100,000 people. Another New England state, Connecticut, has the 2nd-lowest rate of transmission over the last seven days, with just 80 cases per 100,000 people.

Maine and Connecticut have virtually identical rates of vaccination, but Connecticut’s rate is more uniform across the state. In Maine, there remain wide disparities between southern, coastal counties and more rural, inland counties. Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah said Wednesday that large pockets of unvaccinated people in some of these counties is where the virus is spreading most and also where people are getting sick enough to be hospitalized.

Overall, Maine has now administered 882,120 second doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That represents 65.6 percent of all residents and 74.5 precent of those 12 and older who are eligible. Children between the ages of 5-11 could be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine by the end of the month if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration grants authorization.

In addition, the state has given 38,443 third doses of Pfizer vaccine so far to older Mainers and those who are immunocompromised. The U.S. CDC has recommended additional doses for those groups.

This story will be updated.

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