State reports 993 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths ahead of Thanksgiving

State health officials reported 993 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, another increased total that comes just a day before many Mainers gather for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Three additional deaths were also reported, in addition to the 28 deaths reported Tuesday. Half of the deaths reported Tuesday occurred between Oct. 27 and Nov. 9 and were identified through periodic review of death certificates.

With Wednesday’s cases, the seven-day average rose to 688, which is one of the highest of all points during the pandemic, according to data tracked by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Two weeks ago, the state averaged 547 cases per day, and last month around this time the average was 463.

Since the pandemic hit Maine in March 2020, there have been 117,941 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and 1,303 deaths.

Cases have increased nearly 30 percent across the country in the past month, according to US CDC data, and now average 93,668 per day. Maine’s transmission rate, 362 cases per 100,000 people, ranks 9th among all states and exceeds the national rate of 198 cases per 100,000. The number of deaths across the country has not increased with the recent rise, but it still averages 1,000 a day across the country. A total of 772,180 people have died since the start of the pandemic, according to the US CDC.

Hospital admissions were not updated on Wednesday, but they were on Tuesday pandemic peaks for both COVID-19 patients in general (298) and patients in intensive care (96). In the past two weeks, the daily population of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Maine has increased by 40 percent. A total of 3,092 people were hospitalized at some point during the pandemic.

Vaccinations have also been stable of late, although those numbers are largely driven by booster doses and first doses for children ages 5 to 11. There are still large groups of unvaccinated people in many rural areas, which is where the virus has spread the most.

On one side is Cumberland County, where 77 percent of residents are vaccinated. Three other coastal counties — Sagadahoc, Knox and Lincoln — also have rates above 70 percent. On the other hand, four counties have not yet crossed the 60 percent threshold – Somerset, Piscataquis, Franklin and Oxford

In all, Maine administered 910,802 final doses of vaccine, representing 67.8 percent of all Mainers.

The number of vaccinations reported by the state has fallen in recent days as the CDC has reclassified some doses as booster doses that were originally submitted to the state as final doses. As of Wednesday, 268,360 people have received boosters, or 20 percent of the population.

This story is being updated

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