The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 53 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death, ending a week in which Gov. Janet Mills announced she would end the pandemic-era state of emergency on June 30.
Mills’ action Friday will end Maine’s mask mandate for public schools and child care facilities, and comes as Maine’s vaccination rate rises ever higher – to 62.8 percent among eligible residents as of Saturday – and daily case counts stay low.
“Today, we take another important step forward in our return to normal,” Mills said in a statement Friday. “After fifteen long, difficult months, ending the state of civil emergency is a welcome milestone that reflects the progress Maine has made in getting people vaccinated, reducing the spread of the virus and getting back to normal.”
Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 68,540 on Saturday. Of those, 50,136 have been confirmed by testing and 18,404 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 55.1, while the 14-day average was 63.5 cases.
Eight hundred forty-five people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began. The person reported Saturday to have died was a Washington County man in his 70s, the Maine CDC said.
Mills rolled back the restrictions on a day when only 38 new cases were reported, which, except for last Monday’s total, was the lowest since October.
“Maine people have persevered,” the governor added in her statement. “And although challenges remain, we will get through them together just as we did this past year.”
Hospitalizations are also at a low point, though Maine CDC’s director, Dr. Nirav Shah, warned on Friday that remaining COVID-19 hospital patients are “trending younger, and often sicker, requiring longer stays.” Most of those people are also unvaccinated, he said.
Forty-five people were in Maine hospitals with COVID-19 on Friday. On Saturday, hospitalizations rose slightly to 48.
Shah on Friday said he was planning another visit Saturday to the mobile vaccination clinic at Rising Tide Brewing Co. in Portland, along with his dog Quincy. The clinic runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sunday at 103 Fox St., and will offer shots of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for free, without an appointment.
Quincy wants to visit the @fema vaccination clinic again, so we’ll be there on Saturday starting around noon.
— Nirav D. Shah (@nirav_mainecdc) June 11, 2021
Meanwhile, on Friday, five counties – Aroostook, Knox, Oxford, Piscataquis and Sagadahoc – reported no new cases. In Oxford County, that’s the first time this has happened since December. The seven-day case average there was 3.3 on Friday.
By Saturday morning, Maine had given 731,507 people the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and, with increased distribution of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 744,421 had received a final dose. Out of the state’s population of 1.3 million, 54.4 percent had received a first dose.
Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 62.86 percent are now fully vaccinated.
County by county as of Saturday, there had been 8,355 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,884 in Aroostook, 17,196 in Cumberland, 1,362 in Franklin, 1,370 in Hancock, 6,555 in Kennebec, 1,142 in Knox, 1,075 in Lincoln, 3,620 in Oxford, 6,279 in Penobscot, 573 in Piscataquis, 1,471 in Sagadahoc, 2,257 in Somerset, 1,043 in Waldo, 927 in Washington and 13,431 in York.
By age, 18.8 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.3 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 13.5 percent were in their 40s, 14.5 percent were in their 50s, 10.2 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.
Of the 48 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday, 28 were in intensive care and 14 were on ventilators. The state had 85 intensive care unit beds available of a total 378, and 242 ventilators available of 319. There were also 451 alternative ventilators.
Around the world late Saturday afternoon, there were 175.4 million known cases of COVID-19 and 3.78 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 33.4 million cases and 599,642 deaths.