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2 Deaths, 371 COVID-19 Cases Added On Friday

Virus Outbreak US
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
In this March 3, 2021, file photo, senior citizens leave a COVID-19 vaccination site operated by Maine Health in the site of a former department store in Sanford, Maine.

Two more Mainers have died with COVID-19, and 371 more cases have been added to the state's total on Friday.

The Maine Center for Disease Control has recorded more than 59,000 cases of COVID-19 in the state since the pandemic began.

Hospitalizations in Maine for patients with COVID-19 have increased, reaching highs not seen since mid-February.

Cumulatively there have been 1,800 hospitalizations related to the disease. But 150 of those hospitalizations have occurred in the last month. And 48 are in the intensive care unit.

Dr. Nirav Shah of the Maine Center for Disease Control says the average age of hospitalized patients has dropped from 74 in Dec. 2020 to under 65 currently.

"We are seeing more and more young people who are accounting for hospitalizations every single day in Maine," he says.

However, Shah says that the rate of hospitalizations among young people still remains low which he calls "a good thing."

Medical providers have administered more than one million fifty thousand doses of the vaccine throughout the state.

Maine is set to receive a notable increase in COVID-19 vaccines next week.

Shah says the uptick in doses will create more flexibility for clinics in terms of hours and availability. This includes clinics run by public safety groups, independent pharmacies and the mobile vaccination unit.

He says it will be a big week for vaccines in Maine.

"So you'll see next week, thousands of doses that our EMS clinician colleagues across the state will be receiving and putting into arms," Shah says.

The increase in vaccine allotment could reduce shortages caused by the interruption in the use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Administering the J&J vaccine was halted due to concerns over potential blood-clotting.

The Maine CDC’s next briefing on the pandemic is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday. Maine Public will bring that to you live.