May 29—The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 108 more COVID-19 cases and no additional deaths, marking the ninth consecutive day of new infections under 175 and the lowest seven-day average since Nov. 4.
Maine lifted most mask restrictions this past week, though unvaccinated people are still recommended to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. That and the low case numbers are opening Maine up for a bustling tourist season. Also this past week, the Canadian province of New Brunswick announced it would allow travel to Maine by July 1, depending on vaccination rates and other statistics.
Maine's cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 67,651 on Saturday. Of those, 49,558 have been confirmed by testing and 18,093 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 112.6.
Eight hundred twenty-five people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began.
There is one reason for caution, however: hospitalizations. As of Saturday, 114 people were in Maine hospitals with COVID-19, and since April 17 the number of COVID-19 inpatients has stayed above 100.
Many Mainers are approaching cookouts and other Memorial Day events with caution, given the recent lifting of many coronavirus restrictions while much of the population has yet to be vaccinated.
Health experts say contracting COVID-19 outdoors is unlikely, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fully vaccinated people may "resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic." But that leaves some uncertainty about how to interact with the large portion of the public that isn't vaccinated.
Portland resident Georges Budagu Makoko told the Portland Press Herald he isn't yet completely comfortable firing up the grill and inviting family and friends, though he wants to. Makoko is vaccinated, but his two young daughters aren't.
"Last year was horrible; we stayed home because we could save people's lives by staying home. Personally, I'm really looking forward to any opportunity to get together with people again at cookouts or outside, but I have mixed feelings about it," Makoko said. "Some friends I know have been vaccinated. Other people who aren't, I might kind of stay away from."
By Saturday morning, Maine had given 714,165 people the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 696,692 had received a final dose. Out of the state's population of 1.3 million, 53.13 percent had received a first dose.
Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 58.83 percent are now fully vaccinated.
County by county as of Saturday, there had been 8,252 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,851 in Aroostook, 17,093 in Cumberland, 1,335 in Franklin, 1,349 in Hancock, 6,471 in Kennebec, 1,130 in Knox, 1,057 in Lincoln, 3,562 in Oxford, 6,134 in Penobscot, 565 in Piscataquis, 1,458 in Sagadahoc, 2,178 in Somerset, 1,019 in Waldo, 894 in Washington and 13,303 in York.
By age, 18.7 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.3 percent were in their 20s, 15.1 percent were in their 30s, 13.5 percent were in their 40s, 14.5 percent were in their 50s, 10.3 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.
Of the 114 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday, 44 were in intensive care and 20 were on ventilators. The state had 83 intensive care unit beds available of a total 384, and 237 ventilators available of 319. There were also 473 alternative ventilators.
Around the world late Saturday afternoon, there were 169.6 million known cases of COVID-19 and 3.52 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 33.2 million cases and 594,189 deaths.