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A Record 41 COVID-19 Deaths Reported In Maine, But Most Happened Last Month

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.

Maine reported 41 deaths related to COVID-19 on Friday, but the vast majority of them — 35 — actually happened last month.

That one-day high of new reported deaths was more than double a previous high of 20, added Dec. 1, and brings the total number of Mainers who have died with COVID-19 to 426.

However, while that figure “is a stark indicator of the toll that COVID-19 is taking on all of us,” just 6 of the new deaths were from the last 48 hours, according to Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The rest of the deaths happened in December and were only reported this month because of delays in the notification process. Maine CDC learns of many deaths related to COVID-19 because they are directly reported by hospitals, nursing homes, funeral homes or the state medical examiner. 

But funeral homes and the medical examiner sometimes report the deaths “many, many days” later, Shah said, and there are other deaths that are not directly reported to Maine CDC at all. Rather, the agency’s staff only learn about them after carefully reviewing the state’s death certificates. 

“These deaths are all associated with COVID-19,” Shah said during a news briefing. “They did not happen all within the past 48 hours. Indeed, 35 of the 41 occurred over the past several weeks. But that does not diminish their import one iota. They are all just as tragic, and the families of all 35 of those individuals -- to say nothing of the 41 individuals in total we reported today -- feel all the grief that comes with a death associated with COVID-19.”

Maine CDC also reported 782 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday — setting a new high mark.

And a record 205 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday morning, with 56 in critical care and 26 on ventilators.