Maine set another daily record, with 244 new COVID-19 cases reported on Friday, continuing the disturbing upward trend and showing no signs of slowing down.
Three more died.
This is the fifth consecutive day of at least 100 cases, and the state has reached triple digits for the tenth consecutive time in the past 11 days. The average daily cases for 7 days a day also rose to 171, the highest level so far. A month ago, there were 30 cases in 7 days on average.
Since the pandemic reached Maine in March, there are now 8,639 cases and 162 deaths. In the past two weeks, there have been 16 new deaths, more than one per day. In the previous two weeks, there was no one. Deaths often lag behind the peak of cases.
The hospitalization rate has also risen rapidly. Last Friday, there were 13 new hospitalization cases reported, but the current number of hospitalizations has not been updated. As of Thursday, 62 people have been hospitalized, 16 of whom were in intensive care, the most since June. At this time last month, there were only eight people in the hospital.
Maine’s hospitalization rate (4.6 per 100,000 people) is still far below the national hospitalization rate of about 13 people, but if the situation continues to deteriorate, state officials will begin to worry about beds again.
On Friday, every county except Aroostook and Sagadahoc reported more cases, indicating that many cities and towns in the state have spread and even rural areas where the virus has been largely avoided.
Androscoggin County is headed by 68 new cases. Two of the three deaths were also residents of Androskogin County. Cumberland (40), York (33) and Penobscott (27) also had a large number of new cases on Friday.
Health officials say that recent growth has been mainly driven by smaller indoor gatherings (people are not always sheltered or alienated) rather than by the larger gatherings that define the early stages of the pandemic.
New cases also continue to greatly exceed the recovery rate, which brings the number of active cases to more than 2,000 for the first time, three times the number a month ago.
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a briefing to reporters on Thursday: “The virus is here, it is around us, and it is spreading.”
With winter approaching and more and more people moving indoors in the past, the risk of virus transmission is greater. In many states, the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the past few weeks has risen sharply, and even reached a record-breaking increase.
On Thursday, the United States set a record for the seventh time in the past nine days, with more than 152,000 cases. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 10.8 million cases and more than 240,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the United States. Both are far ahead of any country.
This story will be updated.
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