State health officials reported just 38 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death on Friday. Five counties reported no new cases. It was the second lowest total since last October; the lowest was Monday. In the past 13 days, new cases have exceeded 100 just once.
The seven-day rolling average of cases now stands at 62, down from 127 two weeks ago and an average of 304 cases at the same time last month. At its peak this spring, the seven-day average reached 470 cases.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 68,487 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and 844 deaths, according to data tracked by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Both are among the lowest per capita of any state.
Hospitalizations hit their lowest level in seven months. As of Friday, there were 45 people in the hospital with COVID-19, including 24 in intensive care and 14 on ventilators. That number has been halved in the past 11 days alone.
Maine CDC Director Dr Nirav Shah said Thursday that although hospitalizations are on the decline, “those who need hospitalization tend to be younger and often sicker, requiring longer stays.” Most people recently hospitalized are also not vaccinated.
When it comes to vaccinations, Maine still only follows Vermont in the states with the highest percentage of the population fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg, but the pace has slowed significantly over the past two weeks, averaging between 5 000 and 6000 injections per day. That’s about half the daily average compared to the same time last month.
Overall, the state administered 730,573 first doses of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, representing 61.7% of the eligible population aged 12 years or older, and 739,795 final doses, representing 62.5% of eligible residents. The final doses include 77,339 injections of the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine.
Disparities remain in vaccination rates between different counties and within different age groups. Counties that are more rural and conservative have much lower rates than those in southern Maine and along the coast, and young adults still seem much less eager than older Mainers to get the shot.
In Cumberland County, the vaccination rate is 75 percent among those eligible; in Somerset County, it’s only 49 percent. Over the past 14 days, the rate of new COVID-19 cases per capita in Somerset County is the highest of any county, while Cumberland County is the second lowest, behind County of Knox, who also has a high vaccination rate.
Among Maine residents aged 50 or older, 78% are now fully vaccinated, which is equal to or greater than the threshold needed for herd immunity. Among people aged 12 to 49, the rate drops to 47%.
Although advances in immunization have stalled, state officials and health care organizations are still striving to attract those who have not yet obtained theirs, including by studying immunization programs. incitement in other states. Part of the new strategy involves smaller pop-up clinics at businesses and other gathering places.
On Thursday, a mobile vaccination clinic operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency moved to the Rising Tide Brewery in Portland to offer free vaccines to anyone with or without an appointment. A FEMA spokesperson said 30 shots were administered on Thursday.
The mobile unit will remain at the Popular Brewery until Sunday and offer injections of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
Another brewery, Maine Beer Company in Freeport, announced Thursday that it is partnering with MaineHealth for two pop-up vaccination clinics. The premiere will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16. The second will take place on the following Wednesday, June 23, also from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, for which only 18 and older people are eligible.
This story will be updated.