COVID-19 hospital treatments in Maine reached another record high on Friday, but daily updated aggregate data was not available because the state laboratory processing the tests closed for Thanksgiving.
By Friday, 119 people were hospitalized using COVID-19, up 14 from the previous day, including 51 in critical care and 15 on ventilators. Last month, only 11 people were hospitalized this time, none of them in critical care.
Cases will be updated again on Saturday morning and will reflect cases and cases processed from 11:59 p.m. on Friday. Cases may be higher because the data will reflect tests collected over a period of more than 24 hours, but it is also possible that fewer test samples were turned in during the holiday. Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Center for Disease Prevention and Prevention in Maine, said on Wednesday that the lab and its staff have not taken a day off since March.
The CDC reported 238 new cases on Thursday, the seventh time in 10 days that the cases had exceeded 200. The 7-day average rose to 221, compared with 27 a month ago and 27 months ago. Since the outbreak, 11,265 confirmed or probable cases have occurred. Since October 7, the total has doubled to 1,317 cases, or about 12 percent, in just the last seven days.
No further deaths were reported on Thursday, leaving the state’s total number at 190. There were at least one death in each of the previous 10 days, including 12 deaths reported only on Tuesday. So far in November, 43 people have died at COVID-19 in Maine, which is the second part of the month behind April.
Hospitalization and deaths due to COVID-19 are often about two weeks behind cases, which means that more of both are likely.
Although Maine’s cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have risen sharply over the past month, the state is still far better than many others. Maine has the second lowest infection rate after Vermont. Maine at this point still has sufficient hospital bed capacity, although some hospitals have begun to convert standard beds into critical care beds if needed. The state also plans to have two alternative care sites, or field hospitals, that can be set up in a short time.
Nationwide, more than 12 million people were infected with COVID-19 and more than 260,000 deaths occurred. The U.S. CDC said Friday that deaths could exceed 320,000 by mid-December, partly due to the expected rise in vacation travel. Many of the travelers were college students who were not allowed to return to college until the new year.
There were 110 positive cases in the University of Maine System among more than 30,000 students, faculty, and staff. Of these, 101 were connected to the Oron flagship campus. They are all isolated until their symptoms go away and are no longer considered contagious.
According to the COVID Tracking Project, which aggregates publicly available state data, the seven-day average number of cases has doubled just since election day. Like Maine, no other state reported new cases on Friday because of the holiday. By Thursday, more than 90,000 people in the United States had been hospitalized with the virus.
Maine continues to see good testing capacity. On Tuesday, the state’s test rate was 72,000 tests per 100,000 residents, well above the national seven-day average of 548 tests per 100,000. But the pre-holiday crisis in Maine has caused difficulties for some people in both testing and retrieving results in a timely manner. Those with symptoms of COVID-19 usually face little or no delay in obtaining the tests, but the situation is different for an asymptomatic Mainer who hopes to take advantage of free testing at state-owned “tampon and send” locations.
Sah also warned Mainers not to allow the negative test result to give them a false sense of security, leading to more risky behavior. According to him, the negative result, although encouraging, should be seen as a “snapshot” that does not provide a “chunky guarantee” of health.
“The test reveals what happened at the moment the sample was taken,” Sah said Wednesday. – It could have been exposed in the morning when you took the test or exposed the day after you took the test. All the more so why can’t we let our guard down with the basics. Facial covering, physical distance, and avoiding weight are as important today as they were in March. “
Black Friday is a quiet start in Maine