May 2—The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 231 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths after the state suspended its pandemic travel restrictions.
Effective Saturday, people from all U.S. states may visit Maine without a mandatory quarantine or negative COVID-19 test. State officials encourage visitors to get tested before traveling as a matter of habit, and say they reserve the right to restrict travel from states that show particularly high case rates.
Young people, meanwhile, still make up a large portion of new cases. On Sunday, 93 cases of the daily total, or 39 percent, were in people under 30. Over the course of the pandemic, 36.5 percent of all cases have been people in that age bracket, according to Maine CDC statistics.
Maine's cumulative COVID-19 cases rose to 61,487 on Sunday. Of those, 46,023 have been confirmed by testing and 15,824 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 306.3.
Maine hospitals on Sunday had 124 patients with COVID-19, of whom 42 were in intensive care and 18 were on ventilators. The state had 74 intensive care unit beds available of a total 379, and 229 ventilators available of 319. There were also 451 alternative ventilators.
Seven hundred eighty-nine people have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began in Maine.
Despite Maine's overall success in vaccinating its population at a faster rate than any other state, a closer look reveals some gaps, especially in rural areas.
Maine has now given 47.47 percent of its 1.3 million population a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and is 10 percentage points above the national average in terms of full inoculation. But there's still some space to fill before reaching the 75 to 85 percent margin needed for herd immunity.
At least a quarter of people 70 and older in some rural counties have not yet been vaccinated.
In the least-vaccinated county, Somerset, only 31.4 percent of residents have received at least the first dose, while in most-vaccinated Cumberland County, that figure is 57.5 percent.
Rather than strictly rural vs. urban, the distinction appears also to be rural vs. coastal. Counties such as Oxford and Franklin also have first-dose rates below 40 percent, but Lincoln, Sagadahoc and Knox have first-dose rates above 50 percent.
The Millinocket area appears to be bucking the urban-rural trend, however. As of April 24, Millinocket Regional Hospital had administered enough shots to fully vaccinate about 53 percent of the population in its service area. That's 17 percentage points higher than Penobscot County as a whole.
Hospital leaders say they engaged their community early and often, starting with the hospital's own staff, who were given detailed information about vaccine safety and encouraged to voice whatever questions and concerns they had. Ninety-seven percent of staff members now are vaccinated.
Millinocket Regional also reached out to community leaders and teachers in the surrounding area, preregistering people for appointments before they were officially eligible in order to make sure they got their doses.
"It's not like it's over. There is still a lot of work to do," said Todd Phillips, a registered nurse leading the hospital's vaccination effort. "But our effort here in Millinocket is to try to find people where they are, ... and from the beginning, a lot of it has been education and to try to battle vaccine hesitancy in our area."
As of Sunday, 638,070 Mainers had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 526,843 had received their final dose, according to Maine CDC statistics.
County by county as of Sunday, there had been 7,289 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,686 in Aroostook, 16,211 in Cumberland, 1,229 in Franklin, 1,231 in Hancock, 5,706 in Kennebec, 1,000 in Knox, 877 in Lincoln, 3,269 in Oxford, 5,421 in Penobscot, 450 in Piscataquis, 1,291 in Sagadahoc, 1,911 in Somerset, 848 in Waldo, 835 in Washington and 12,579 in York.
By age, 18 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.5 percent were in their 20s, 14.7 percent were in their 30s, 13.4 percent were in their 40s, 14.9 percent were in their 50s, 10.6 percent were in their 60s, 5.5 percent were in their 70s, and 4.4 percent were 80 or older.
Around the world late Sunday afternoon, there were 152.4 million known cases of COVID-19 and 3.19 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 32.4 million cases and 577,010 deaths.