Jun. 10—Maine reported 65 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, as lower daily case counts continue. There were no additional deaths.
The seven-day average of daily new cases dropped to 67.3 on Thursday, compared to 82.9 a week ago and 304.3 a month ago. At the pandemic's peak in mid-January, cases were routinely more than 600 per day. Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 68,449 cases of COVID-19, and 843 deaths.
With demand for immunizations weakening, the state is trying new ways to encourage younger people to get their shots. As part of those efforts, the mobile vaccination unit, a partnership between Maine and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will be at Rising Tide Brewing in Portland from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. The clinic will be administering the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
On the immunization front, 734,632 people, or 54.65 percent of Maine's 1.3 million population, have received their final dose of COVID-19, including people who have gotten two shots of Moderna or Pfizer, or one shot of Johnson & Johnson.
Meanwhile, Maine is receiving $32 million in grants from the federal government — the state's share of a $2.2 billion program — to reduce disparities in testing and vaccination among underserved communities, such as people living in rural areas and minorities.
"The pandemic has laid bare longstanding health inequities, and health departments are on the front line of efforts to address those inequities," said Dr. Jose Montero, director of the U.S. CDC's Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support. "These grants will provide these health departments with much needed support to address disparities in communities that need it most."
The decrease in cases, deaths and hospitalizations in Maine is playing out nationally as well. According to the U.S. CDC, the average number of new cases per day is about 13,400, down from 38,600 just one month ago. Deaths from COVID-19 are now averaging 370, compared to 590 per day this time last month. And total hospitalizations in the U.S. are averaging about 22,000 per day, which is the lowest since the early days of the pandemic.
The easing pandemic also spurred Maine on Wednesday to announce that all physical distancing requirements will be lifted for the fall, so that schools can return to five days per week of in-person learning.
"Classroom instruction is critical for the social and mental development of our kids," Gov. Janet Mills said in a news release. "School administrators and teachers have worked hard all year to protect their students from the virus, provide them with a good education, and meet many of their other needs. With the progress we've made in vaccinating Maine people, we want to make sure that there are no barriers to getting our kids back into the classroom full-time."
Currently, there are 49 people in Maine hospitalized with COVID-19, including 27 in critical care.
This story will be updated.