The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 29 cases of the novel coronavirus, and one more death, as York County continued to generate a high proportion of the state’s new cases.

Maine’s cumulative cases rose to 4,863. Of those, 4,376 have been confirmed by testing and 487 are considered probable cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

One hundred thirty-six people have died with COVID-19 in Maine. Information about the person reported Sunday to have died wasn’t immediately available from the Maine CDC.

Subtracting the number of people who have recovered – 4,226 – and died, there were 501 active cases on Sunday. Maine hasn’t had that many active cases since July 7.

Food pantries and other hunger relief programs across Maine are seeing a surge in demand amid the economic hardship imposed by the pandemic, and especially since the expiration of expanded unemployment benefits on Aug. 1.  A new unemployment benefit program was implemented Friday by the state, providing an extra $300 per week to the unemployed.

Maine was already known as an unusually food-insecure state. The national rate for food insecurity – defined as the proportion of families who don’t have access to an adequate supply of nutritious food – is 11.1 percent. In Maine, it’s 13.6 percent. And that number is only expected to rise this year.

Meanwhile a surge in cases continues in York County, as outbreaks have been identified at the York County Jail, Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, the Sanford Fire Department and Seal Rock Health Care nursing home in Saco.

On Sunday, CDC statistics indicate that 11 of 29 new cases were in York County.

Some of those outbreaks have been linked to a crowded wedding reception in Millinocket in August that was attended by a York County Jail employee. The pastor at Calvary Baptist Church officiated at the wedding.

Calvary Baptist has sparked controversy for shunning masks and continuing to hold in-person services during an outbreak in the church itself. Earlier this month, the pastor announced he was hiring a well-known religious liberty attorney to defend the church’s interests against any potential restrictions on its activities by government officials.

The Sanford City Council last week unanimously passed an ordinance requiring that masks be worn in all public settings where social distancing isn’t possible, as well as in stores, restaurants, bars, tasting rooms and lodging businesses of any size. The ordinance has an enforcement provision that could bring fines and possible closure for institutions that don’t comply.Advertisement

County by county in Maine since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 641 COVID-19 cases in Androscoggin, 40 in Aroostook, 2,251 in Cumberland, 54 in Franklin, 52 in Hancock, 200 in Kennebec, 33 in Knox, 38 in Lincoln, 83 in Oxford, 251 in Penobscot, eight in Piscataquis, 62 in Sagadahoc, 74 in Somerset, 73 in Waldo, 15 in Washington, and 987 in York.

By age, 10.4 percent of patients were under 20, while 17 percent were in their 20s, 15.2 percent were in their 30s, 14.6 percent were in their 40s, 16.4 percent were in their 50s, 11.4 percent were in their 60s, 7.6 percent were in their 70s, and 7.3 percent were 80 or over.

Women still make up a slight majority of cases, at just under 51 percent.

Updated hospital capacity information wasn’t yet available Sunday morning. Maine’s hospitals had 10 patients with COVID-19 on Saturday, of whom six were in intensive care and four were on ventilators. Maine had 100 intensive care unit beds available of a statewide 379, and 254 ventilators available of 319. The state also had 437 alternative ventilators.

Around the world on Sunday, there were nearly 28.8 million known cases of COVID-19 and more than 920,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States had close to 6.5 million cases and 194,000 deaths.



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