Maine is reporting 551 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and five additional deaths as the state continues to log high case counts this fall.
The state’s seven-day average of daily new cases stood at 412.1 on Friday, compared to 517 a week ago and 449.7 a month ago. Among counties, Cumberland County, the state’s most populous, reported 104 new cases on Friday, followed by Penobscot County at 74 and York County at 60. Piscataquis County logged the fewest new cases with four.
Since the pandemic began, Maine has reported 97,183 cases of COVID-19, and 1,093 deaths.
On Thursday, Maine reported a slight drop in the number of active COVID-19 outbreaks in schools statewide. The Department of Education reported 111 outbreaks and 2,694 cases over the past 30 days, down from 113 outbreaks and 2,910 cases reported last week. Sanford High School reported 45 cases and went fully remote Thursday and will do so again Friday in an attempt to control the outbreak.
Also, Cross Insurance Arena in Portland will require proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours for anyone 12 and older to be permitted into the arena, starting Oct. 22. Children too young to be vaccinated will be allowed inside but must wear a mask.
With enforcement of a mandate looming, COVID-19, immunization among health care workers has increased, according to data posted Wednesday by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Health care workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 29, which means Friday is the last day an employee could receive the Johnson & Johnson shot and be in full compliance by the deadline.
From August to the end of September, hospital staff vaccination rates increased from 85 percent to 92 percent, and in assisted-living facilities from 78 percent to 88 percent. Nursing homes saw a jump in employee vaccinations from 77 percent to 86 percent, the state reported. Health care workers must be fully immunized by Oct. 29, according to state rules.
Health care workers who are terminated from their jobs for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will in most circumstances not be permitted to collect unemployment, according to an August posting on the Maine Department of Labor website.
This story will be updated.