State health officials reported 29 new COVID-19 cases on Monday but no additional deaths among individuals with the virus.
Twenty two of the new cases were recorded in Androscoggin, Somerset and Kennebec counties, while York and Cumberland counties accounted for just three of the new cases.
To date, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has tracked 5,752 confirmed or probable cases of the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus as well as 143 deaths. Just shy of 5,000 Maine residents, or 4,998 people, have recovered from the disease.
While the Maine CDC reported a total of 33 new cases on Monday, the cumulative total for the state, to date, increased by 29 after adjusting for previously reported “probable” cases that were later determined to be negative.
On Sunday, the superintendent of York schools announced that Coastal Ridge Elementary School will close until at least Oct. 22 because of a suspected outbreak there, although he didn’t specify how many students or staff were infected. Students will participate in distance learning until they return.
York County has become Maine’s COVID-19 epicenter in the past several months, leading to the cancellation of most high school sports. The cancellations have frustrated many coaches and players, however, leading them to wonder whether they’ll lose the entire season.
The University of Maine System reported eight active cases among students and staff at the various campuses: four cases at UMaine-Orono, one on the Farmington campus and three cases at the Augusta campus. To date, the university system has conducted 20,403 tests through its “asymptomatic screening” process, leading to 18 positive results.
Maine continues to have among the lowest COVID-19 infection and death rates in the country. Maine’s seven-day, new infection rate of 2.1 new cases for every 100,000 people was lower than every other state but Vermont, according to tracking by the Harvard Global Health Institute and other groups.
Nine people were hospitalized in Maine with COVID-19 as of Monday, with six of those individuals being treated in critical care units and one connected to a ventilator, Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah said in a post on Twitter.
Shah also said that just 0.22 percent of the 5,578 tests reported to Maine CDC during the previous 24-hour period were positive for COVID-19. The seven-day average positivity rate was 0.44 percent compared to a rate of 0.92 percent three months ago.
In comparison, several states experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases — such as South Dakota, Idaho and Wisconsin — have positivity rates above 20 percent.
Shah also noted that Maine’s testing volume hit a new high of 465 tests per 100,000 residents. That is significantly above target levels determined by Harvard Global Health Institute for mitigating the disease but is still shy of the 569 tests per 100,000 residents that the institute said is necessary to suppress COVID-19. Massachusetts is the only state currently meeting both targets.