Maine CDC reports one death, 46 new cases of coronavirus

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported one death and 46 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing total deaths to 99 as other figures give the state’s leaders cautious optimism about the safety of reopening.

Total cases now have risen to 2,570, of which 2,295 have been confirmed by testing and another 275 are considered “probable” cases.

The woman reported to have died Sunday was a woman in her 80s from Cumberland County, the Maine CDC said.

Subtracting numbers of people who have recovered — 1,864 — and died, there were 607 active cases on Sunday.

As Maine continues to reopen for business, its leaders are cautiously hopeful about statistics tracking the pandemic’s spread. Seven-day averages of daily new cases have fallen, as have positive testing rates for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. Maine Medical Center in Portland has seen a dramatic decrease in COVID-19 patients, too, though many other hospitals statewide have remained flat in terms of coronavirus admissions.

Still, Maine has “a ways to go” before things are well under control, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said last week. Just under 5 percent of all tests for COVID-19 are coming up positive, a drop from previous months but still above rates in countries such as South Korea that have been a model for containing the virus.

Politics continued to shadow the pandemic response last week, as President Trump visited Maine on Friday to tour a Guilford factory that produces testing swabs. He clashed with Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, and demanded a quicker reopening of the state’s economy.

The president also declined to wear a mask, though the workers he greeted were clad in masks, gloves, hair nets and other protective gear. The company, Puritan Medical Products, told USA Today this weekend that swabs produced during Trump’s visit would be thrown away. It’s not clear why; the company did not respond to questions from the Press Herald.

Maine’s economy is tourism-dependent, raising concern about the state’s prospects as the normally lucrative summer months approach. But a budding sector, startup companies, also has seen significant disruption from the pandemic.

Startup founders in Maine say new business and new ideas usually germinate from the close contact and unexpected encounters found in large conferences and shared workspaces; without that, founders such as Justin Hafner of KinoTek, a company that combines virtual-reality technology and kinesiology, say they’re losing momentum.

County by county, there were 367 cases in Androscoggin over the course of the pandemic, whereas Aroostook had 10, Cumberland had 1,307, Franklin had 36, Hancock had 12, Kennebec had 130, Knox had 21, Lincoln had 20, Oxford had 31, Penobscot had 101, Piscataquis had one, Sagadahoc had 30, Somerset had 22, Waldo had 52, Washington had one, and York had 427.

By age, 6.3 percent of patients were under 20, 14.4 percent were in their 20s, 14.8 percent were in their 30s, 15.2 percent were in their 40s, 17.4 percent were in their 50s, 12.7 percent were in their 60s, 9.4 percent were in their 70s, and 9.8 percent were 80 or older.

Women are still the majority of known cases, at 51.3 percent.

Maine’s hospitals had 34 total patients with COVID-19, of whom 15 were in intensive care and seven were on ventilators. The state had 202 available intensive care beds of a total 407, and 245 available ventilators of 316. Maine also had 441 alternative ventilators that breathe for patients with aggressive cases.

Around the world on Sunday, total case numbers topped 7 million, with more than 400,000 deaths. The United States had nearly 2 million cases and 112,000 deaths.

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