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Apr. 3—The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 280 cases of the coronavirus and one additional death, closing out a week during which public health officials once again bumped up the vaccination schedule by opening eligibility to all adults within days.
Come Wednesday, all Mainers 16 and older will be able to get a shot, thanks to increasing numbers of doses arriving in the state. This came after officials had already pushed that date forward to April 19.
Case numbers, meanwhile, have started to climb back up, fueled in part by increased spread among people under 30.
Maine's cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 51,468 on Saturday. Of those, 39,345 have been confirmed by testing and 12,123 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 259.1 on Saturday, significantly higher than last Saturday's 194.4.
Seven hundred forty-five people have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in Maine. The person reported Saturday to have died was a Somerset County man in his 70s, the Maine CDC said.
Gov. Janet Mills said Thursday she decided to move forward the eligibility window because Maine's supplies of vaccine doses were expected to increase dramatically in coming weeks. Also, demand for appointments has begun to flag in some areas where people 50 and older are eligible, prompting officials to look for more arms to put shots in.
Mills and health officials said Maine would rely not only on large mass-vaccination sites in cities, but also on "pop-up" sites in rural areas. Those pop-up sites are more likely to use the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, because it's harder to schedule a second visit when people are so spread out.
Meanwhile, Maine is seeing a resurgence in cases. Friday brought 402 new reported cases of COVID-19, though many were older cases that the Maine CDC had newly identified as the coronavirus. Health officials are raising concerns that the increasing case reports will hurt their efforts to vaccinate the population.
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, noted the state's increased positive test rate — 3.5 percent on Friday versus a low of 1.8 percent in the past two weeks — and asked Mainers to get vaccinated.
"Broader eligibility is coming next week," Shah said in a tweet. "Please, get your shot. We talk a lot about the light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are our vehicle out of that tunnel."
2/At the same time, #COVID19 cases are increasing and, with that, positivity rates.
Broader eligibility is coming next week. Please, get your shot.
We talk a lot about the light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are our vehicle out of that tunnel. pic.twitter.com/duIY16loLa
— Nirav D. Shah (@nirav_mainecdc) April 2, 2021
As of Saturday, 452,346 Mainers had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 299,378 had received their final dose. Out of Maine's population of 1.3 million, 33.65 percent have received their first dose, according to Maine CDC statistics.
County by county as of Saturday, there had been 5,417 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,427 in Aroostook, 14,147 in Cumberland, 1,000 in Franklin, 1,078 in Hancock, 4,397 in Kennebec, 819 in Knox, 675 in Lincoln, 2,602 in Oxford, 4,707 in Penobscot, 388 in Piscataquis, 998 in Sagadahoc, 1,426 in Somerset, 721 in Waldo, 777 in Washington and 10,889 in York.
By age, 16.5 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.2 percent were in their 20s, 14.4 percent were in their 30s, 13.2 percent were in their 40s, 15.2 percent were in their 50s, 11.4 percent were in their 60s, 6.1 percent were in their 70s, and 5 percent were 80 or older.
Of the 73 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday, 28 were in intensive care and eight were on ventilators. The state had 97 intensive care unit beds available of a total 379, and 240 ventilators available of 319. There were also 446 alternative ventilators.
Around the world late Saturday afternoon, there were over 130.5 million known cases of COVID-19 and 2.84 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 30.6 million cases and 554,717 deaths.