Watch briefing: Maine reports 732 new COVID-19 cases over a four-day period – Press Herald

Maine is reporting 732 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday over a four-day period that includes Labor Day. There were six additional deaths.

The new cases were from Saturday through Tuesday, an average of 183 per day, which would be lower than recent daily counts of more than 300. However, the Maine CDC has recently had to catch up from previous backlogs, and it was not immediately clear if the state still has a backlog to clear from the holiday weekend.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, will address the media at 2 p.m. today.

The seven-day average of daily new cases stood at 317.1 on Wednesday, up from 282.1 a week ago and 122.4 a month ago. Maine has the seventh-lowest virus prevalence per capita in the United States, with 23.5 cases per 100,000, on a seven-day daily average. Connecticut has the lowest daily rates in the country at 14.7 per 100,000, while the national average is 46. The states with the worst rates – Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina – have rates of more than 90 cases per 100,000.

Since the pandemic began, Maine has recorded 78,803 cases of COVID-19, and 946 deaths.

The spike in cases has strained hospital resources, according to hospital executives. MaineHealth, the parent company of Maine Medical Center in Portland and seven other Maine hospitals, has dialed back elective surgeries to make room for unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have soared over the past month driven by the delta variant, going from 49 statewide on Aug. 7 to 183 on Tuesday, according to Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those currently hospitalized, 68 are in critical care and 29 are on ventilators. Only 43 of the state’s 326 critical care beds were available Tuesday, according to Maine CDC statistics.

About four of every five patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, according to state statistics.

“We don’t have an end in sight to when we can resume normal capacity,” said Dr. Joan Boomsma, chief medical officer at MaineHealth, on Tuesday.

Boomsma said some examples of surgeries that are being postponed include hip and knee replacements, some back surgeries, non-emergency abdominal or head and neck surgeries. She said some colonoscopies also are being delayed to free up staff to take care of COVID-19 patients.

She said these are surgeries that can be safely postponed, although they can affect the patients’ quality of life while they are waiting.

This story will be updated

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