Jun. 26—The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday reported 38 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths, making for the 10th straight day of case numbers under 50.
Maine has a high vaccination rate compared to other states, and the bulk of people in Maine hospitals with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, said Maine CDC's director, Dr. Nirav Shah. On Thursday, 29 of 31 hospital patients with the novel coronavirus were not fully vaccinated, he said.
Maine's cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 68,963 on Saturday. Of those, 50,447 have been confirmed by testing and 18,516 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 24.1, while the 14-day average was 30.2 cases.
Eight hundred fifty-eight people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began.
"We are reaching the point where hospitalization for #COVID19 is preventable," Shah said in a tweet announcing the hospitalization statistic. "Get vaccinated."
Stat of the day: there are 31 people in the hospital with #COVID19 in #Maine.
29 of them are *not* fully vaccinated. That's 94%.
We are reaching the point where hospitalization for #COVID19 is preventable.
Get vaccinated. #vaccinateME
— Nirav D. Shah (@nirav_mainecdc) June 24, 2021
Maine ranks second among U.S. states, behind Vermont, for vaccination rates, according to Bloomberg's vaccine tracker.
By Saturday morning, Maine had given 773,236 people the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 65.29 percent are now fully vaccinated.
Evidence suggests that the vaccines, when they're administered, are working in Maine. The counties with the highest spread of COVID-19 are also those with the lowest vaccination rate. That includes Somerset County, which has fully vaccinated just 45.1 percent of its residents — 20 percentage points behind the state average.
Meanwhile, along with the state's overall vaccination rate, interest in gardening is still growing. Portland-area garden supply stores reported trouble keeping up with demand this past week, and the Portland Water District said it had sold roughly twice as many rain barrels this spring than it usually does.
"The supply is very thin," Jeffrey O'Donal, owner of O'Donal's Nursery in Gorham, told the Portland Press Herald. "There are too many people who want the same plants, and plants don't just come off the factory floor. You have to grow them."
Stuck at home during pandemic-era lockdowns, many people took up new habits — baking, jigsaw puzzles, and especially gardening. The surge in interest drove a nationwide seed shortage last spring, and evidence suggests the wave hasn't broken this summer.
Longtime gardeners like Heron Breen, at Fedco, a Clinton-based seed sales cooperative, said they hoped to see their new green-thumbed colleagues stick with it.
"We love the idea of more gardeners," Breen said. "We love the idea of selling more packets of seeds to folks who are going to use them. We are hoping for a renewed sense of sustainability and food sovereignty."
County by county as of Saturday, there had been 8,402 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,900 in Aroostook, 17,241 in Cumberland, 1,381 in Franklin, 1,376 in Hancock, 6,604 in Kennebec, 1,145 in Knox, 1,079 in Lincoln, 3,644 in Oxford, 6,341 in Penobscot, 587 in Piscataquis, 1,473 in Sagadahoc, 2,283 in Somerset, 1,049 in Waldo, 941 in Washington and 13,517 in York.
By age, 18.9 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.3 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 13.4 percent were in their 40s, 14.5 percent were in their 50s, 10.2 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.
Both Sagadahoc and Waldo counties saw no new cases over the entire past week, according to Maine CDC statistics.
As of late Saturday afternoon, updated hospitalization numbers weren't yet available from the Maine CDC.
Around the world early Saturday evening, there were 180.5 million known cases of COVID-19 and 3.9 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 33.6 million cases and 603,647 deaths.