The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 117 COVID-19 cases and one new death, a comparatively low increase in cases that hasn’t been equaled since Feb. 17.
Maine is set to lift its indoor mask mandate starting Monday, with a few exceptions. Schools and child care facilities will still require masks and the U.S. CDC has mandated face coverings on public transportation. Gov. Janet Mills made the change last week after the U.S. CDC announced that masks were no longer required indoors for vaccinated people, but Mills’s order extends to unvaccinated people, too, because of the difficulty of determining people’s immunization status on the fly in public.
Maine’s cumulative COVID-19 cases reached 66,979 on Sunday. Of those, 49,116 have been confirmed by testing and 17,863 are considered probable cases of COVID-19. The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 180.6.
Eight hundred twenty people have died with COVID-19 in Maine since the pandemic began, and 119 people are now hospitalized with the disease. The person reported Sunday to have died was a Lincoln County woman over the age of 80, the Maine CDC said.
Businesses around Maine are presenting a patchwork of approaches to mask-wearing as the government mandate disappears. Ari Gersen, owner of Longfellow Books in Portland, said he’d keep his mask on for a while longer and ask staff and customers to do the same.
But Gersen also anticipated eventually asking unvaccinated people to keep masks on, while allowing the vaccinated to take them off. When that happens, he’s not sure how he’ll ensure that staff and other customers are safe, beyond the honors system.
Though unvaccinated people aren’t required to wear masks indoors under Mills’s new executive order, the state recommends it.
“There is nothing in place for people to show they are vaccinated, but if you are not vaccinated, you have to wear a mask,” Gersen said. “I don’t know how that is supposed to work.”
The Renys chain of department stores, by contrast, will follow the new guidance and drop most masks starting Monday, owner John Reny said. Fully vaccinated staff and customers will be able to go without face coverings, and unvaccinated visitors will be asked to wear them, though the store won’t be checking people’s immunization status.
“The whole thing has been tough,” Reny said in an interview. “Everyone is sick of it. I think we talked about maybe keeping masks on until the end of the month or something, but I don’t think we will. I think you have to do something on Monday because people are going to expect it.”
“You just have to hope someone’s being honest; if they come in without a mask, they must be vaccinated,” Reny added.
By Sunday morning, Maine had given 699,945 people the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 672,606 had received a final dose. Out of the state’s population of 1.3 million, 52.07 percent had received a first dose.
Among people 12 and older, the population currently eligible for vaccination, 56.80 percent are now fully vaccinated.
County by county as of Sunday, there had been 8,171 coronavirus cases in Androscoggin, 1,821 in Aroostook, 17,022 in Cumberland, 1,324 in Franklin, 1,327 in Hancock, 6,378 in Kennebec, 1,110 in Knox, 1,036 in Lincoln, 3,521 in Oxford, 6,015 in Penobscot, 541 in Piscataquis, 1,443 in Sagadahoc, 2,158 in Somerset, 998 in Waldo, 865 in Washington and 13,242 in York.
By age, 18.6 percent of patients were under 20, while 18.3 percent were in their 20s, 15.1 percent were in their 30s, 13.5 percent were in their 40s, 14.6 percent were in their 50s, 10.3 percent were in their 60s, 5.3 percent were in their 70s, and 4.2 percent were 80 or older.
Maine hospitals had 118 patients with COVID-19 on Sunday, of whom 44 were in intensive care and 18 were on ventilators. The state had 87 intensive care unit beds available of a total 385, and 229 ventilators available of 319. There were also 453 alternative ventilators.
Around the world on Sunday morning, there were 166.7 million known cases of COVID-19 and 3.45 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had 33.1 million cases and 589,703 deaths.
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