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Maine CDC: 748 More COVID-19 Cases, 8 Deaths

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
Testers help each other with their personal protective equipment at the start of their shift at a mobile testing location for COVID-19, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Auburn, Maine.

The Maine CDC reported 748 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday — another record. But CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah says that the number isn’t as alarming as it seems.

That’s because the state has been working through a backlog of lab reports that the agency announced a few weeks ago.

“Of the increase in cases that we have seen today, of this 748, as well as a fraction of the cases we have seen in recent days, are partly as a result of the process improvements we have made to make sure we can stay on top of everything that’s coming in,” Shah says.

Shah notes that Maine’s positivity rate is showing signs of stability, at 4.2 percent. But he emphasizes that the virus is still everywhere and many people are very sick.

Of the 1,000 hospitalizations Maine has seen over the course of the pandemic, a third have occurred just in the past month.

For the second week in a row, Maine is facing a reduction in its allotment for the COVID-19 vaccine. Shah says next week, Maine will receive 10,725 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 8,400 of the Moderna vaccine.

“We thought we were going to be getting about 350 doses more than what our actual allotment is,” he says.

Shah says the bulk of the Pfizer allotment will be used for residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Vaccinations at assisted living settings were slated to begin this week but had to be postponed because Maine’s previous vaccine allotment was reduced.

The Maine CDC reported another 8 fatalities associated with COVID-19 on Wednesday, raising Maine’s death toll to 311.

In all, more than 20,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported since the start of the pandemic.