The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 80 cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths on Sunday, bringing weekly case averages to lows not seen since October.
Meanwhile, cases are falling and vaccination rates are rising, many schools in Maine plan five-day weeks of personal learning for this fall. Vaccines are now available for children ages 12 and up, and the state is offering a bundled testing program for high school students that can quickly detect COVID-19 and allow closer contact within schools. Some states, like Massachusetts, have required return to full-time classroom schooling, but Maine leaves the choice to individual districts.
The cumulative COVID-19 cases in Maine rose to 68,232 on Sunday. Of these, 49,927 have been confirmed through testing and 18,305 are considered likely cases of COVID-19. The seven-day mean of the new daily cases was 69.7 while the 14-day mean was 89.1 cases.
Eight hundred and thirty-nine people have died of COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began.
Physical distancing requirements have limited schools’ ability to return to full capacity, but schools following Maine’s pooled testing program are not required to adhere to the current 3 foot indoor distance limit. However, social distancing is still recommended by the Maine Department of Education.
By the end of May, 14 school districts and 11 individual schools had signed up for the program, which uses nasal swab tests in student groups as early detection of COVID-19, followed by individual tests if necessary.
In Cumberland-North Yarmouth’s SAD 51, Superintendent Jeff Porter said schools are planning five days of personal education in September – but not the pooled testing program. Less than 30 percent of middle and high school parents who participated in a district survey said they were interested in the program.
“Based on the survey results, I am not recommending including pooled testing in the reopening schedule, but we are leaving the door open to revisit later this summer if state guidelines change that may be worth revisiting. Porter told the Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.
School officials in Buxton, South Portland and Scarborough and many others said they were planning five days of personal school this fall.
By Sunday morning, Maine had given 724,198 people the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 718,254 had received a final dose. Of the state’s 1.3 million residents, 53.88 percent had received a first dose.
Of the people aged 12 and over who are currently eligible for vaccination, 60.65 percent are now fully vaccinated.
County by county, there were 8,317 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,877 in Aroostook, 17,150 in Cumberland, 1,350 in Franklin, 1,361 in Hancock, 6,525 in Kennebec, 1,139 in Knox, 1,065 in Lincoln, 3,604 in Oxford, 6,238 in Penobscot, 572 in Piscataquis, 1,465 in Sagadahoc, 2,239 in Somerset, 1,035 in Waldo, 912 in Washington and 13,383 in York.
According to age, 18.8 percent of the patients were under 20 years old, 18.3 percent were 20 years old, 15.2 percent were 30 years old, 13.5 percent were 40 years old, 14.5 percent were 50 years old, 10.2 percent were 60 years old, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.
Updated information on hospital capacity was not yet available on Sunday morning. Maine hospitals had 62 patients with COVID-19 as of Saturday, of whom 29 were in intensive care units and 16 on ventilators. The country had 75 of a total of 383 beds in intensive care units and 230 of 319 ventilators. There were also 451 alternative ventilators.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 173 million cases of COVID-19 and 3.72 million deaths were known worldwide as of Sunday morning. In the United States there were 33.3 million cases and 597,377 deaths.
This story will be updated.