Apr. 24—The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 373 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death, as the state climbs closer to a 50 percent delivery rate for first doses of a coronavirus vaccine. There were 122 patients with the infectious disease in Maine hospitals on Saturday.
Maine's vaccination program is ahead of many others around the country in its speed at achieving full vaccination, and by Saturday, 44.76 percent of residents had received a first dose. With Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccines back on the table, state officials are making registration easier and MaineHealth is planning to open additional walk-in clinics.
On Saturday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency opened a walk-in clinic at Biddeford High School, offering doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine without appointments needed, spokesman Patrick Boland said. There were 25-30 cars in the parking lot at 2 p.m. The clinic will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Wednesday, and is part of a planned series of federal vaccination sites throughout the state.
People under 30 accounted for 178 of the new cases reported on Saturday, or 47 percent of the daily total.
The mobile vaccination unit has started operations in Biddeford at the high school. It is back to offering J&J.
Walk in appointments are available on a limited, first-come/first-serve basis until 4:30pm today. #COVID19 #vaccine pic.twitter.com/vHSb4h1IQ7
— Nirav D. Shah (@nirav_mainecdc) April 24, 2021
Maine's cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 59,612 on Saturday. Of those, 44,532 have been confirmed by testing and 15,080 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 381.9 on Saturday, a drop from 456.4 one week ago.
Seven hundred seventy-two people have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in Maine. The person reported Saturday to have died was a York County woman in her 60s, the Maine CDC said.
On Friday evening, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted the pause on administration of the J&J vaccine, which has caused blood clots in very rare cases in younger women. Officials at those agencies said the risk was "very low" and they "have confidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19."
As of Friday, 15 people, all women, had developed blood clots, out of 8 million doses given. Three of the women have died, and another seven have been hospitalized.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been an important part of Maine's plan to vaccinate homebound, remote, unhoused and otherwise hard-to-reach populations. The state has about 15,000 doses in reserve, officials said Friday.
Meanwhile, state education officials this past week moved four counties — Androscoggin, Kennebec, Oxford and York — to its "yellow" designation for risk of COVID-19 transmission. The move means that state officials recommend a hybrid of online and in-person instruction for at least two weeks. Contrary to recommendations earlier in the pandemic, it does not affect high school sports, which may continue in all four counties.
On Friday night, the Maine Department of Corrections reported a COVID-19 outbreak in the Women's Center at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham. Five inmates tested positive for the coronavirus, and they all reside in the same housing unit within the Women's Center, which has 36 residents, according to the department.
By Saturday morning, Maine had given 601,701 people the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 470,519 had received a final dose. Out of the state's population of 1.3 million, 44.76 percent had received a first dose.
County by county as of Saturday, there have been 6,851 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,620 in Aroostook, 15,814 in Cumberland, 1,193 in Franklin, 1,219 in Hancock, 5,445 in Kennebec, 946 in Knox, 806 in Lincoln, 3,120 in Oxford, 5,246 in Penobscot, 434 in Piscataquis, 1,215 in Sagadahoc, 1,804 in Somerset, 812 in Waldo, 823 in Washington and 12,262 in York.
By age, 17.6 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.6 percent were in their 20s, 14.7 percent were in their 30s, 13.3 percent were in their 40s, 14.9 percent were in their 50s, 10.7 percent were in their 60s, 5.6 percent were in their 70s, and 4.5 percent were 80 or older.
Of the 122 patients with COVID-19 in Maine hospitals on Saturday, 46 were in intensive care and 19 were on ventilators. Hospitals had 86 intensive care unit beds available out of 384, and 197 ventilators available of 319. The state also had 451 alternative ventilators.
Around the world on Saturday evening, there were more than 145.9 million known cases of COVID-19 and over 3 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 32 million cases and 571,883 deaths.